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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.

November 2020
Micrograph of nerve cells being targeted by CRISPR enzyme to activate the silenced gene in Angelman syndrome
News

Prenatal CRISPR therapy blocks Angelman syndrome traits in mice

by  /  9 November 2020

A gene-editing treatment shows long-lasting effects in a mouse model of Angelman syndrome, a genetic condition related to autism.

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Photograph of lab researchers at Ultragenyx
News

Gene therapy trial for autism-linked condition is put on hold

by  /  5 November 2020

All five participants in a clinical trial of a gene therapy for Angelman syndrome experienced leg weakness, leading sponsors to pause the study.

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October 2020
Illustration depicts mother and child facing a field of doors: some are dark and some are light
Features / Deep Dive

Low standards corrode quality of popular autism therapy

by  /  28 October 2020

Rapid growth and inadequate standards in the ‘applied behavior analysis’ industry may put vulnerable children in the hands of poorly prepared technicians.

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Illustration shows young woman surrounded by the confusion of puberty and body changes.
Opinion / Q&A

Puberty may arrive early for some autistic girls

by  /  27 October 2020

Girls with autism tend to start puberty earlier than their peers do, which may intensify their social difficulties and put them at an increased risk for bullying and mental health conditions such as depression.

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Ralf Schmid, the research director in Neurodevelopmental diseases at the Gene Therapy Program Orphan Disease Center, loads replicated mouse dna into wells in the gel before applying electric current to test the viability of the dna.
Features / Deep Dive

A quest for Quincy: Gene therapies come of age for some forms of autism

by ,  /  14 October 2020

A gene therapy for Angelman syndrome stands at the forefront of efforts to treat autism-linked conditions that stem from single genes.

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A child wearing headphones looking into his locker with bullies lurking behind him.
Opinion / Viewpoint

Why it is imperative to ask autistic adolescents about bullying

by ,  /  6 October 2020

Being bullied puts adolescents with autism at increased risk of suicide. Identifying and preventing bullying may help prevent suicides.

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September 2020
White lab mouse sitting in a gloved hand.
News

Silencing ‘poison exon’ eliminates deadly seizures in mice

by  /  24 September 2020

A new treatment curbs deadly seizures in a mouse model of Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy.

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Micrograph of a mitochondria.
News

Fragile X syndrome traits may stem from leaky mitochondria

by  /  11 September 2020

Plugging a leaky mitochondrial membrane may help fragile X neurons to mature and function more efficiently.

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People reaching out to touch hands through screen.
Opinion / Viewpoint

We need better strategies to support autistic people as the COVID-19 crisis continues

by  /  8 September 2020

Interviews with autistic people reveal that many miss their friends and opportunities for social connection, in stark contrast to orthodox views that they have little social motivation and prefer a life of self-isolation.

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Illustration of a neuron on top of a marijuana leaf surrounded by psychadelic colors.
News

Cannabis and autism, explained

by  /  7 September 2020

Autistic people and their families are increasingly experimenting with marijuana to try to ease problems such as insomnia, epilepsy and chronic pain — and traits of autism. But there is little evidence for its safety or effectiveness.

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