Thursday, March 14, 2013

Philosophy Wire: Disease, symptoms, curing: A strange correlation

Philosophy Wire by Spiros Kakos [2013-03-14]:
Autism results from abnormal cell communication. Testing a new theory, researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have used a newly discovered function of an old drug to restore cell communications in a mouse model of autism, reversing symptoms of the devastating disorder.
"Our (cell danger) theory suggests that autism happens because cells get stuck in a defensive metabolic mode and fail to talk to each other normally, which can interfere with brain development and function", said Robert Naviaux, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and co-director of the Mitochondrial and Metabolic Disease Center at UC San Diego. "We used a class of drugs that has been around for almost a century to treat other diseases to block the 'danger' signal in a mouse model, allowing cells to return to normal metabolism and restore cell communication". Clinical trial of children with autism spectrum disorder are planned for the coming year. [source: web news] Is treating symptoms the same as curing? If autism continues to exist as a problem, but the cells can communicate normally due to our intervention, are we correct to consider the patient "ok"?

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