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Spectrum: Autism Research News

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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 2021
Dr. Shafali Jeste portrait with a vibrant fuschia background.

Shafali Jeste: Early autism meets its match

by  /  30 November 2021

Shafali Jeste has spent the bulk of her scientific career searching for biological markers of autism. Her goal: to improve lives through early diagnosis and speedy testing of therapies.

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UBE3A expression in mouse brain slices, shown in green.

One-shot gene therapy for Angelman syndrome shows promise in mice

by  /  29 November 2021

A potential new gene therapy delivered via a single injection mimics ratios of proteins normally found in cells.

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Professor Andrew Whitehouse surrounded by playful children in the busy clinic in Subiaco Western Australia.

Beyond the Bench: A conversation with Andrew Whitehouse

by  /  24 November 2021

Andrew Whitehouse talks about his conservation efforts in the Australian Outback, what it’s like to be an identical twin and why he leaves work promptly at 5 p.m.

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Pink, blue and purple illustration shows a cell with mitochondria.

Mitochondria: An energy explanation for autism

by  /  22 November 2021

People with autism have more mutations than others do in both mitochondrial DNA and nuclear DNA that affects mitochondrial function.

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Cognitive behavioral therapy may be only mildly effective for anxious, autistic children

by  /  16 November 2021

Many autistic children rate the therapy as less effective at treating their anxiety than their parents and clinicians do.

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Gene therapy for rare form of autism may treat another

by  /  11 November 2021

A MECP2 gene therapy for Rett syndrome eases repetitive behaviors, anxiety and hyperactivity in a mouse model of Pitt-Hopkins syndrome.

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Dispatches from SfN 2021: Mitochondria, Rett therapy and oxytocin

These short reports from Spectrum journalists highlight some of the autism-related findings that caught our attention at the meeting this past week.

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Illustration of a network of blue neurons overlaid with marijuana leaves.

Special report: How cannabis could shape future autism therapies

by  /  8 November 2021

Cannabis-derived drugs are approved to treat only a small number of autism-related conditions, but many autistic people and their families experiment with medical marijuana to ease autism traits. In this special report, Spectrum rounds up what the science says about cannabis and autism.

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Mouse neurons in red and pink on black.

Mouse model reveals root of breathing issues in rare form of autism

by  /  5 November 2021

Dysfunctional circuits and a rogue sodium channel in the brainstem may explain the disordered breathing pattern seen in children with Pitt-Hopkins syndrome, a form of autism.

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October 2021
Illustration: microbes clumped together forming the shape of a brain. The microbes are pink, blue, aqua, and red. Set against a dark blue background.

Despite flurry of findings, doubts dog gut microbes’ role in autism

by  /  19 October 2021

The possibility of microbial treatments for autism has inspired a burst of research and nascent clinical trials, but new research suggests these efforts rest on shaky scientific ground.

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