Afaf El - Ansary
Afaf El-Ansary, female, biochemist, graduated from biochemistry department, Ain Shams University, Egypt in 1974. She worked in the National Research Centre, Egypt from 1976-2000, During 2001- 2016, she worked as professor, Biochemistry Department, Science College, King Saud University, KSA. Since 2016- till now, she joined the Central laboratory as senior scientist to supervise the Biochemistry, Proteomic and biomarkers units. She has published more than 45 papers related to metabolic integration between schistosome parasite and molluscan hosts. She recorded a patent on the” use of sublethal concentration of solanum nigrum plant for the control of schistosomiasis”. She was recognized by the Marquis Who’s Who in science and engineering, Eight’s edition, 2005-2006. She is member in number of national and international societies and she is recorded as reviewer and Editorial board member in many international journals. In recent years she focused on the screening of biochemical markers related to autism and she got another 70 published papers in high impact factor Journals related to this research interest. She is member in the European Society of Predictive, Preventive and Personalized Medicine Society (Moscow). Most recently, she is the head of The Saudi group related to the nutritional Council for Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (CONEM). Research Interest: Nutritional biomarkers-directed strategies to treat autism spectrum disorders as safe and noninvasive intervention method.
Human glial cell line – derived neurotrophic factor as predictive marker of the effectiveness of auditory integration intervention in autism
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by persistent difficulties in social interaction and communication, as well as restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviors, interests, or activities. As both hypo- and hyper responsiveness to sensory stimuli are observed in autism, so, sensory processing abnormalities may be important as target for therapeutic interventions that might help to reduce rigidity and stereotyped behaviors. In this work, rehabilitation of autistic participants through the use of Auditory Integration Training (AIT) was attempted and its effectiveness was evaluated through the measurement of childhood autism rating scale (CARS), social responsiveness scale (SRS), and short sensory profile (SSP) together with a biochemical assay of glial cell derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) as a biomarker greatly related to cognitive and emotional processes, synaptic plasticity, dopaminergic, glutamatergic, and serotonergic neurotransmission. The obtained data demonstrates that while GDNF was highly increased immediately after the AIT to reach 242.05 pg/ml with P˂0.001, it was down regulated to reach 154.00, and 125.594 after one month and three months respectively. Moreover a substantial decline in autistic behavior as considerable improvements on socialization, vocalization, self-steam behaviors, and flexibility was also recorded and monitored through the three used severity scales (CARS, SRS, and SSP). The negative correlation between GDNF and CARS confirms the remarkable improvement in the cognitive abilities of autistic participants (The higher the GDNF, the lower the CARS) measure, and the remarkably improved autistic child.
Up to our understanding of the etiological mechanism of autism, the observed relative improvement in CARS, SRS, and SSP as three measures of autism severity in response to AITinduced GDNF, might be due to the amelioration of the impaired serotonin and dopamine systems, the induced- glutamate excitotoxicity, elevated – pro-apoptotic and neuroinflammatory markers. Among the three measures, CARS demonstrates the best prognostic measure. These findings provide preliminary support for the use of AIT as a helpful component of effective intervention in children with autism.