PHOENIX (3TV / CBS 5) – Like most little girls, Meghan Dumesnil loves to play, color and swim.
“As soon as she was able to walk, she was pretty much running,” said her mother, Marie Dumesnil. When Meghan was four, doctors diagnosed her with autism.
“Social communication in general is a huge part of what autism and social communication issues are,” Marie said.
Late last year, Marie found Dr Richard Frye, a children’s neurologist at Phoenix Children’s. He has spent years researching and finding ways to help children with autism.
“It was found that the mechanism that transports folate to the brain was broken in some children and caused more developmental problems,” said Dr. Frye.
It uses a nutrient that helps bypass blockages in a child’s metabolism often associated with autism. “The treatment is something called Leucovorin Calcium, which is a special type of folate that can enter the brain,” Dr. Frye said.
He said trials so far show that the treatment can improve language, communication and social interactions. Meghan started taking the prescription last year.
“It was just very striking that very early on when she started the study, really, her verbal communication exploded,” Marie said. “It wasn’t just us who noticed it, but other people who saw her every day, including people who didn’t know she was in the study.”
Dr Frye is hoping to eventually get FDA approval for the treatment, making it accessible to more families.
“If something like this treatment can help improve the quality of life for children first, but also families, and help children build relationships and friendships. I think that’s huge,” said Marie .
Dr Frye said you can still enroll your child for trials at the Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Donations can also be made to help fund research.
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