Hadasa Ein-Karem Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel
Autism is a developmental disorder characterized by abnormalities in speech and communication, impaired social functioning, and repetitive behaviors and interests. The term "Autism spectrum disorders" or ASD is often used to include autistic disorder, Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Epidemiological research suggests that ASDs affect at least 60 per 10,000 youth, with estimates as high as 120 per 10,000. Severity of autistic features is not easily defined and the use of different diagnostic tools compounds the ability to lay a clear cut definition. It is, though, generally accepted that children with autism and normal IQ (>70) are "high functioning" regardless of the severity of their autistic features. The investigators will use the terms "autism" and "ASD" interchangeably, and the term "low functioning autism" will be used to describe those children with autism who have, or are presumed to have, IQ<70.
The pathophysiology of autism has been studied extensively in the last decade. Abnormal neuronal connectivity has been implicated in a growing body of research. In addition, areas of over and/or under neuronal activation have been detected on functional MRI(Magnetic Resonance Imaging).
Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or Deep TMS is a noninvasive technique that allows affecting brain activity. The pulses are administered by passing high currents through an electromagnetic coil placed adjacent to a patient's scalp. The pulses induce an electric field in the underlying brain tissue. When the induced field is above a certain threshold, and is directed in an appropriate orientation relative to the brain's neuronal pathways, localized axonal depolarizations are produced, thus activating the neurons in the relevant brain structure.
Deep TMS has been studied in individuals with high functioning autism. Deep TMS treatment was found to have an electrophysiological effect and to reduce repetitive behaviors and improved social functioning.
In the context of existing pilot data suggesting effect of Deep TMS treatment in individuals with high functioning autism, the investigators propose a pilot study to assess the efficacy of Deep TMS in children and adolescents with low functioning autism.
Contact: Hamutal Shahar +(972) 02-5824030, Hamutal@brainsway.com
Principal Investigator: Dr. Moshe Isserles and Dr Michal Begin