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OSU probes use of drug on autistic children

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State University is participating in a large clinical research program to determine if an Alzheimer's disease medication can be used to treat children with autism.

The Columbus Dispatch (http://bit.ly/Tjzfmn) reports that children with autism from central Ohio can enroll in the program at OSU's Nisonger Center. The study is evaluating the use of the drug memantine on social interaction and communication among autistic children. OSU is among 85 research sites in the United States.

Memantine is used to treat memory dysfunction associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Michael Aman, director of research at the Nisonger Center, noted in a preliminary study that autistic children who were given memantine were more open and interactive with other people. The study also found that their ability to interact and communicate with peers improved.

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