New Study Shares Treatment Success in Autism Spectrum Disorders – Is There Light at The End of The Tunnel?


Kids Neuro Clinic and Rehab Center, Dubai announces today groundbreaking findings of a new research study on the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in younger children. 

The results, published in the international, peer-reviewed journal, Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, share breakthrough findings in ASD research. For the first time in medical literature, researchers describe a complete resolution of ASD core signs and symptoms using a combination of FDA approved pharmacological medications and standard supportive therapies.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong debilitating neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by repetitive and restricted patterns of behavior, difficulties with communication and social interaction. 

Worldwide, the prevalence of ASD is increasing at an alarming rate yet understanding causes of ASD still at large remain unclear. It is well documented however, that care and management for ASD patients has a significant socioeconomic toll impact consistently across the globe. 

Due to limitations of published data on costs of ASD patient management locally, a review of published data in the United States of America, where ASD affects one in 59 children, showed societal costs of managing ASD in 2015 were a staggering $268 billion. This figure, which had increased more than six-fold since 2006, is further estimated to rise to $461 billion by 2025 following existing treatment approaches. This data highlights the critical need for progressing knowledge to support ASD treatment and management. 

Currently, ASD is considered to be a non-curable disorder. As stated in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS, USA) fact sheet for ASD, “There is no cure for ASD. Therapies and behavioral interventions are designed to remedy specific symptoms and can improve those symptoms.” [1]

However, recent findings published by Dr. Hamza Alsayouf at the Kids Neuro Clinic and Rehab Center in Dubai, provide promising hope. This pivotal study shares data which reveals pharmacological intervention resulted in an absolute and complete resolution of ASD core signs and symptoms in younger children aged four and older. [2]

In this study, 18 children diagnosed with ASD were successfully treated following treatment protocols developed by the Dubai Healthcare City based center, using risperidone and aripiprazole. Both drugs, which are US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved, are used for the treatment of challenging behaviors such as irritability, aggression, and self-injury that coexist with ASD in children aged five and above. The findings reported in this study include ten patients (56%) showing unprecedented complete resolution of their core ASD signs and symptoms, while the remaining eight patients (44%) exhibiting significant improvements in their symptoms ranging from 60 to 80%. Furthermore, these improvements were reported stable with no regression observed during the follow-up period. 

These breakthrough findings are the result of Dr Hamza Alsayouf, Director of Kids Neuro Clinic and Rehab Center dedicated and long-term commitment to advance knowledge on the use of pharmacological intervention in ASD. “We are extremely pleased our research is being published at an international platform. This is an area of much-needed focus. This study shows for the first time that, against the prevailing opinion, ASD signs and symptoms can indeed be completely resolved,” said Dr. Alsayouf. He further added, “While we have many video testimonials for ASD children who have been treated successfully at our center over the years, our aim was to ensure our impressive results are published in reputable scientific literature to substantiate our experience in the treatment of ASD.” 

This retrospective study expands the evidence-based use of FDA-approved medications that have been available for many years and believed only be effective in managing behavioral issues. “Based on our extensive center experience and applying in-depth scientific evidence, we have demonstrated that use of these medications can help to target the core signs and symptoms of ASD, and not just to treat behavioral issues. We strongly believe that ASD is neuropsychiatric in nature, shares many features with other neuropsychiatric diseases and needs to be approached the same way,” said Dr. Alsayouf. 

“We have found chronic use of these medications for more than one to two years is key as well as individualizing treatment plans. Finding the optimal combination and tailoring doses of medications for each patient following a personalized approach is crucial and it is imperative to optimize overall patient outcome. As this study shows, when indicated, the use of ADHD medications in addition to antipsychotic medications helped control ADHD symptoms and boost attention which plays a major role in the learning process.” added Dr. Alsayouf. 

In the study, Dr. Alsayouf provided a treatment algorithm and explained every patient’s treatment journey, with the hope to stimulate further controlled clinical research. 

This study shows that early tailored pharmacological intervention along with early intervention standard supportive therapies can successfully treat core signs and symptoms in younger ASD patients. It is anticipated that a double-blinded, placebo-controlled study will be performed to validate these findings and further support development of a cure for this chronic and devastating disorder. 

As Dr. Alsayouf concluded, “While it may take us decades to uncover the underlying causes of ASD, this should not divert our attention away from treating this debilitating condition from what we know today. We believe our case series will prove to be a big eye-opener.”  

The study appears in the 20 edition of Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment.

About Dr. Hamza A Alsayouf, MD:

Dr. Alsayouf is an American Board-certified Pediatric Neurologist who completed his training at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Ohio State University, from 2006–2009. He is the founder and owner of the Kids Neuro Clinic and Rehab Center at Dubai Healthcare City, Dubai, UAE. 

About the Journal:

Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment is an international, peer-reviewed and open-access journal, (5-year impact factor, 2.6) reporting on clinical therapeutics and pharmacology research on a range of neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders. 

About the Study Center:

Kids Neuro Clinic and Rehab Center is a pediatric neurology clinic and pediatric rehabilitation center located in Dubai Healthcare City. The Center is the first independent pediatric neuroscience facility in Dubai that specializes in child neurology and child rehabilitation.

Kids Neuro Clinic and Rehab Center intends to publish further research in this area and encourages interest from individuals and industry wishing to collaborate in its ASD research program.