The six-year-old and the 14-year-old who received suramin said the first sentences of their lives about one week after the single suramin infusion.
This did not happen in any of the children given the placebo,” Naviaux added.
Superior Court Judge Chad Allred agreed to the 65-year sentence that prosecutors had recommended. And not only did he take him away, he made his last days his worst, and he destroyed many lives along the way."Authorities said Christenson beat Smith and his younger teenage brother, made them take hourslong ice baths, sprinkled cayenne pepper into their eyes and zapped Smith with a stun gun.
It was far above the standard range of 30 to 41 years."Otto was a loving, kind, gentle little boy in a young man's body," senior deputy prosecutor Ben Santos said in court. Smith had to wear garbage bags as diapers, and his brother had to sleep in the bathroom, authorities said. Authorities said Christenson forced Smith to take an ice bath, then bound his hands and feet, gagged him with a sock and wrapped his head in layers of duct tape, causing his death.
The findings were reported in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology.
According to Naviaux, autism is caused by metabolic dysfunction or impaired communication between cells in the brain, gut and immune system, resulting from abnormal persistence of the cell danger response (CDR) -- a natural and universal cellular reaction to injury or stress.
Suramin works by inhibiting the signalling function of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) -- a small molecule released from the cell as a danger signal.
Smith's death was initially ruled natural because Christenson and Backman told authorities he died in his sleep.
The most changed behaviours were social communication and play, speech and language, calm and focus, repetitive behaviour and coping skills, the researchers said.“During the time the children were on suramin, benefit from all their usual therapies and enrichment programs increased dramatically,” said lead author Robert K Naviaux, Professor at the University of California San Diego.
Importantly, suramin caused significant improvements in language and social interaction in a 14-year-old boy who had not spoken a complete sentence in 12 years.“We had four non-verbal children in the study, two 6-year-olds and two 14-year-olds.
But months later, Backman told a social worker that Christensen had killed her son and she had helped cover it up, authorities said.
Backman, a former special education teacher, pleaded guilty in November 2015 to rendering criminal assistance and was ordered to undergo mental health and substance abuse treatment.