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Big gains after using cord blood for autism

Over 70% of children showed impressive improvements in autism symptoms and behaviours after re-infusion with their own stored cord blood.

These results, from a trial at Duke University in North Carolina, have given hope to parents of children with autism, including one young Canadian boy.

Noah Barcolos was two years old when he was diagnosed with autism.

Two years later, he’s one of 180 children taking part in the second phase of a study at the Durham, North Carolina school.

“Noah has mostly been in his own world,” according to his mother, Sammy Barcolos. “He likes to play around the kids rather than interact with them.”

But since taking part in the trial, Noah’s parents say the difference has been remarkable.

“He gets upset. We got more eye contract, interaction, facial expressions,” said Noah’s father, Michael. “Now he makes the expressions at the right moments,” said Sammy. “He’s also calling me mommy. He’s never done that.”

Noah isn’t the only child in the trial to show progress.

“Generally we saw behaviours improve at 6 months compared to their baseline study,” Doctor Joanne Kurtzberg told CNN.

Kurtzberg is one of the lead researchers in the study..

Her early hypothesis is that certain immune cells within the cord blood are crossing the blood-barrier and altering brain connectivity.

“We don’t know whether this therapy will be curative for autism. But I am hopeful it will be curative in the long run.”

But for Michael Barcolos, even the tiniest changes provide hope.

“Everyone wants the same thing – an equal chance for their child. To have an equal chance at life.

 

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