Thursday October 18, 2018

100-year-old Drug ‘Suramin’ making improvements in Language and Social interaction in Autistic Kids

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Harrison, 5, who is autistic, plays with Kaspar, a child-sized humanoid robot developed at the University of Hertfordshire to interact and help improve the lives of children with autism, in Stevenage, Britain, Jan. 30, 2017. VOA
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New York, 30 May, 2017: Administering a single dose of 100-year-old drug suramin — originally developed to treat African sleeping sickness — can improve symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children, a study said.

During the study, four boys who received the suramin infusion displayed improvement in language and social behaviour, restricted or repetitive behaviour and coping skills.

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The most changed behaviours were social communication and play, speech and language, calm and focus, repetitive behaviour and coping skills, the researchers said.

“During the time the children were on suramin, benefit from all their usual therapies and enrichment programs increased dramatically,” said lead author Robert K. Naviaux, Professor at the University of California San Diego.

Importantly, suramin caused significant improvements in language and social interaction in a 14-year-old boy who had not spoken a complete sentence in 12 years.

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“We had four non-verbal children in the study, two 6-year-olds and two 14-year-olds. The six-year-old and the 14-year-old who received suramin said the first sentences of their lives about one week after the single suramin infusion. This did not happen in any of the children given the placebo,” Naviaux added.

The findings were reported in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.

According to Naviaux, autism is caused by metabolic dysfunction or impaired communication between cells in the brain, gut and immune system, resulting from abnormal persistence of the cell danger response (CDR) — a natural and universal cellular reaction to injury or stress.

Suramin works by inhibiting the signalling function of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) — a small molecule released from the cell as a danger signal.

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When CDR is activated, the effect of extracellular ATP is similar to a warning siren that never stops.

Suramin silences the siren, “signalling the cellular war is over, the danger has passed and cells can return to ‘peacetime’ jobs like normal neurodevelopment, growth and healing”, Naviaux noted.

However, the therapeutic benefit of suramin was temporary, as the improvements peaked and then gradually faded after several weeks as the single dose of suramin wore off, the researchers said. (IANS)

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Also Read: Governments Across The World Request Apple for 30,000 Device Information

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)