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Developmental Regression and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in a Child With Autism

Posted Aug 24 2008 10:34pm
After David Kirby's disclosure of the court papers in the Hannah Poling case last week, it became clear that the child in this study was the same child whose autism claim was conceded by the DOJ to be paid by the Vaccine Injury Compensation Fund.

What I didn't know until today was that her father, Jon Poling, MD, PhD, was the lead author on the paper.

For your consideration:

Developmental Regression and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in a Child With Autism

Jon S. Poling, MD, PhD

Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery Johns Hopkins Hospital Baltimore, MD

Richard E. Frye, MD, PhD

Department of Neurology Boston Children's Hospital Boston, MA

John Shoffner, MD

Horizon Molecular Medicine Georgia State University Atlanta, GA

Andrew W. Zimmerman, MD

Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery Johns Hopkins Hospital Kennedy Krieger Institute Baltimore, MD,

Autistic spectrum disorders can be associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. We present a singleton case of developmental regression and oxidative phosphorylation disorder in a 19-month-old girl. Subtle abnormalities in the serum creatine kinase level, aspartate aminotransferase, and serum bicarbonate led us to perform a muscle biopsy, which showed type I myofiber atrophy, increased lipid content, and reduced cytochrome c oxidase activity. There were marked reductions in enzymatic activities for complex I and III. Complex IV (cytochrome c oxidase) activity was near the 5% confidence level. To determine the frequency of routine laboratory abnormalities in similar patients, we performed a retrospective study including 159 patients with autism (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV and Childhood Autism Rating Scale) not previously diagnosed with metabolic disorders and 94 age-matched controls with other neurologic disorders. Aspartate aminotransferase was elevated in 38% of patients with autism compared with 15% of controls (P < .0001). The serum creatine kinase level also was abnormally elevated in 22 (47%) of 47 patients with autism. These data suggest that further metabolic evaluation is indicated in autistic patients and that defects of oxidative phosphorylation might be prevalent. (J Child Neurol 2006;21:170—172; DOI 10.2310/7010.2006.00032).
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