Researchers have found that an antioxidant could be a potential treatment for some features of autism.
A pilot trial from the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital found that N-Acetylcysteine, or NAC, lowered the tendency for irritability in those with autism, as well as repetitive behaviour.
Dr Antonio Hardan, the primary author of the new study, said that irritability occurs in around 60 to 70 per cent of autism cases and is not a mild trait.
"This is throwing, kicking, hitting, the child needing to be restrained," he said. "It can affect learning, vocational activities and the child's ability to participate in autism therapies."
Currently irritability is treated with anti-psychotics, but these can have certain side effects.
However, as only 31 children were involved in the pilot study, Dr Hardan made it clear that further study was needed.
He explained there is currently no strong scientific evidence to support the benefits of NAC and this must be addressed.
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