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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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William Catterall examines anxiety drugs for autism

 /  24 June 2015
The Presenter
William Catterall
Chair and Professor, University of Washington

William Catterall studies the role of voltage-gated ion channels in neuropsychiatric disorders.

On 24 June, William Catterall explained how low doses of an anxiety drug alleviate autism-like symptoms in mice. He is professor of pharmacology at the University of Washington in Seattle.

A long-standing theory posits that autism may arise from an imbalance of excitatory and inhibitory signals in the brain. Catterall’s team has collected mounting evidence over the past five years suggesting that benzodiazepines — a class of drugs prescribed for anxiety — may help restore this balance in some instances.

A very small dose of one of these sedatives boosts inhibitory brain signals and alleviates autism-like symptoms in mice. In this webinar, Catterall presents results from these mouse studies and discusses their implications for therapy in people with autism.

You can watch a complete replay of the webinar above.

Use the comments section below to submit questions we didn’t have time to discuss during the Q&A session or to pose follow-up questions for Catterall.

Press Policy
The Spectrum Webinar Series aims to facilitate the free exchange of ideas among autism researchers, including discussion of published and unpublished research, hypotheses and results. Members of the press may report information presented during a Spectrum webinar only if that material has already been published elsewhere or they have first obtained express written consent from the presenter.

About Webinars
Presentations by leading experts that showcase new findings, useful techniques and emerging topics in autism research. We invite questions before and during the presentations in the Comments section.