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Treatments

Efforts to ease the symptoms of autism are beginning to ramp up, with promising candidates in various stages of testing.

Features / Deep Dive
Portrait of the Lane family in Kentucky.

Moving for autism care

by  /  4 August 2021
Disparities in state services for autism are driving families to relocate. But not everyone can afford to move, and others find that their new home also has faults.
News
Micrographs comparing motor cortex neurons in mice with and without an extra copy of MECP2 gene.

Blocking key pathway reverses brain, behavior changes in autism mouse model

by  /  19 July 2021
Neurons in mice with an autism-linked mutation sprout extraneous protrusions, an overgrowth accompanied by above-average motor learning. Inhibiting a cell signaling pathway reverses the effect.
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Polypharmacy, shifting prescriptions common for autism comorbidities

by  /  1 July 2021
Roughly 30 percent of people with autism plus another condition, such as anxiety, are prescribed three or more psychotropic medicines. And that mix frequently changes from year to year.
June 2021
Dr. Huda Zoghbi portrait
News / Profiles

Huda Zoghbi: Taking genetic inquiry to the next level

by  /  25 June 2021

Over the course of a career spanning more than three decades, Huda Zoghbi has won almost every major biology and neuroscience research award that exists. More than 20 years since she discovered the gene behind Rett syndrome, she remains laser focused on unlocking the condition’s secrets and finding effective treatments.

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Micrographs of mouse astrocytes with high levels of inflammatory molecules.
News

Immune-regulating cells contribute to autism-like traits in mice

by  /  21 June 2021

The link between autism and prenatal exposure to an immune response may involve altered levels of immune cells, according to a new study.

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lab technician pipetting in dramatic light
News

Alternative gene-therapy approaches take aim at Rett syndrome

by  /  16 June 2021

Methods that selectively increase levels of the Rett protein make for safer and more effective treatment strategies, some researchers say.

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Brain and marijuana leaves
Opinion / Q&A

Q&A with Eric Hollander: Cannabis treatments for autism

by  /  8 June 2021

As cannabis prohibition slowly lifts in the United States, scientists and families in the autism community are increasingly turning to the drug and its constituent compounds to ease autism-related difficulties, including seizures and irritability.

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Enzyme blockers may counteract excess protein levels in fragile X syndrome

by  /  7 June 2021

Investigational drugs that inhibit an overactive enzyme could partially normalize how brain cells mature in boys with fragile X syndrome.

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Illustration of transporter mice in brain maze
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After 60 years, scientists are still trying to crack a mysterious serotonin-autism link

by  /  4 June 2021

The high levels of serotonin seen in the blood of some autistic people have confounded scientists for more than half a century. Despite so little progress, some researchers refuse to give up.

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May 2021
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Stimulant restores cell signaling, eases behavior issues in animals missing autism gene

by  /  28 May 2021

Worms and zebrafish missing both copies of the gene CHD7 have disrupted cellular signaling, a dearth of inhibitory neurons and behavior changes — all of which are reversed by the stimulant drug ephedrine.

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Dr. Elizabeth Berry-Kravis stretching during a run.
News / Profiles

Elizabeth Berry-Kravis: Running a marathon for fragile X syndrome

by  /  26 May 2021

Elizabeth Berry-Kravis has spent decades uncovering molecular clues to fragile X syndrome and crafting trials of treatments. Her efforts are paying off.

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News / Toolbox

New benchmark for autism scale may help gauge therapies

by  /  18 May 2021

Researchers have defined a change in score on a popular autism rating scale that signifies a meaningful improvement in core traits. The measure could help scientists assess the effectiveness of autism treatments in clinical trials.

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Visual stimulus of 4 circles with black and white stripes.
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Visual task flags autistic people who respond to GABA agonists

by  /  14 May 2021

The investigational drug arbaclofen makes autistic people’s brains respond to a visual task more like non-autistic people’s brains do.

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