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BMC Medicine

, 12:79

First Online: 15 May 2014Received: 23 April 2014Accepted: 23 April 2014DOI: 10.1186-1741-7015-12-79

Cite this article as: Golla, S. & Sweeney, J.A. BMC Med 2014 12: 79. doi:10.1186-1741-7015-12-79


Some children with autism spectrum disorders ASD; 15% to 30% of patients show a significant and persistent regression in speech and social function during early childhood. There are no established treatments for the regressive symptoms. However, there are some known causes of this type of regression, such as Rett syndrome and Landau-Kleffner syndrome LKS. In LKS, steroids have been used as a treatment. Some evidence suggests an autoimmune contribution to the pathophysiology of autism Chez MG, Guido-Estrada N: Immune therapy in autism: historical experience and future directions with immunomodulatory therapy. Neurotherapeutics 2010, 7:293–301, Wasilewska J, Kaczmarski M, Stasiak-Barmuta A, Tobolczyk J, Kowalewska E: Low serum IgA and increased expression of CD23 on B lymphocytes in peripheral blood in children with regressive autism aged 3-6 years old. Arch Med Sci 2012, 8:324–331, Stefanatos G: Changing perspectives on Landau-Kleffner syndrome. Clin Neuropsychol 2011, 25:963–988, raising the possibility that steroids might be a useful therapy for regression in ASD. A retrospective study published in BMC Neurology by Duffy et al. Duffy, et al: Corticosteroid therapy in regressive autism: A retrospective study of effects on the Frequency Modulated Auditory Evoked Response FMAER, language, and behavior. BMC Neurol 2014, 14:70 reviewed 20 steroid treated R-ASD STAR patients and 24 ASD control patients not treated with steroids NSA. Improvements in clinical function and in a neurophysiological biomarker were seen in the steroid-treated children pre- to post-prednisolone treatment. This research provides a rationale for a randomized trial with steroid therapy to determine the longer term benefits and complications of steroids in this population.

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KeywordsAutism Regression Corticosteroids FMAER Language Behavior AbbreviationsASDautism spectrum disorder

CLSQClinical language status questionnaire


FMAER4 Hz frequency modulated auditory evoked response

LKSLandau-Kleffner syndrome

NSAnon-steroid treated group

R-ASDregressive ASD

STARsteroid treated Autism with regression group

STGsuperior temporal gyrus-gyri.

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Autor: Sailaja Golla - John A Sweeney


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