Infection during pregnancy may blunt the growth of neurons in the fetus by boosting levels of the chemical messenger serotonin.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Prairie vole pups exposed to the antidepressant fluoxetine in the womb show autism-like behaviors and lose some receptors for oxytocin and vasopressin.
Risperidone can ease irritability in people with autism, but has no effect on repetitive behaviors, social impairments or communication deficits, according to a study published 19 November.
There are no available medications for treating autism’s core symptoms, but there are several candidates in clinical trials. Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele describes the factors researchers must take into account when developing drugs for the disorder.
Women who take antidepressants such as Prozac while pregnant may increase their sons’ risk of autism and developmental disability, reports a study published 14 April in Pediatrics. But, like other studies before it, the study leaves room for doubt.
Risperidone, the first drug approved for children with autism and the most widely used, improves some children’s behavior but can have severe side effects, suggests an informal analysis of the drug’s use.
By creating an atlas of 39 different areas in the mouse cerebellum, researchers have highlighted differences in this region in three mouse models of autism, they reported 22 October in Autism Research.
Taking antidepressants while pregnant doesn’t boost the risk of autism in the child, according to the largest study yet to search for a link, published 15 November in Clinical Epidemiology. However, the subgroup analyses that question the connection are based on numbers too small to draw a firm conclusion, experts say.
Two new studies bolster the emerging idea that microglia, cells that were long dismissed as passive soldiers of the brain’s immune system, are in fact actively involved in shoring up connections between neurons. The unpublished work was presented Sunday at the 2013 Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.