Sunday, 17 March 2013

Neurology – I think I like it

In the real world coincidences are quite rare;  in this blog they seem to happen alarmingly often.  Here is another one.

You will surely have noticed by now that an old diuretic called Bumetanide has found a new application in the treatment of autism.

Similarly less known, is a strange phenomenon called Hypokalemic Sensory Overstimulation (HypoSO). This is when the sufferer gets overwhelmed by their senses of sound, light etc, but reverts to normal, as if by magic, after drinking oral potassium.  The extreme case of this is Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis (HypoPP), when you don’t just get sensory overload, you actually become paralyzed.

My ANA hypotheses number 2 was that maybe sensory overload in autism was a form of Hypokalemic Sensory Overstimulation (HypoSo).  It seemed a wild idea, but when we tested it, we found the hypothesis entirely plausible.  We made an experiment with Monty, Ted and Dule. (click the link).  In other words, we found that autistic children seem to suffer from HypoSO and maybe some also suffer from its scarier cousin HypoPP.

Well, having decided to give my blog a rest for a couple of days, I did a mere 5 minutes work on Saturday and look what I found.


That link takes you to a very recent paper (last month, in fact), and look how the abstract ends:- 

Conclusions: The Na-K-2Cl inhibitor bumetanide was highly effective in preventing attacks of weakness in the NaV1.4-R669H mouse model of HypoPP and should be considered for management of patients with HypoPP due to sodium channel mutations.

What does this really mean?  Well I have my opinions, but I am not yet ready to share them.  I did write to the authors of the study, but my experience to date is that Neurologists are far too busy to reply to a poor speller like myself.
Anyway, it looks like another reason to favour Bumetanide. I like coincidences, so it seems that I have got to like Neurology.


1 comment:

  1. Hei Peter, great work. I have always thought that doctors should team up with engineers and phisicists to understand better medical conditions.


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