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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.

June 2021
Illustration of transporter mice in brain maze

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

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.

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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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.

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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Child's hands playing on a white table with blue sand.

Methodological issues plague studies of early autism interventions

by  /  6 May 2021

Multiple types of bias and an overreliance on caregiver reports have clouded research on the effectiveness of early interventions for autism for nearly three decades.

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brainstem of rats in red, green and blue highlight higher levels of GABA.

GABA agonist rescues auditory hypersensitivity in rats missing autism-linked gene CNTNAP2

by  /  3 May 2021

The investigational drug arbaclofen may right an imbalance between inhibitory and excitatory signaling in the animals’ brains.

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April 2021
three black and white monkey brain views next to three color versions showing the a drug target area colored red.

Drug boosts cognition in men with fragile X syndrome

by  /  29 April 2021

A drug that prevents an enzyme from breaking down a key molecule involved in learning and memory improved cognition and behavior in a small study of men with fragile X syndrome.

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A child's hand points to a location on a hand drawn map of the United States in different crayon colors.

Many U.S. counties lack autism therapists

by  /  20 April 2021

Applied behavior analysis is the most widely used therapy for autistic children in the United States, but some regions lack the staff needed to provide it.

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March 2021
Mouse brain neurons labeled with a genetic marker show pink on a dramatic blue background.

Early training forestalls motor, memory difficulties in mouse model of Rett syndrome

by  /  24 March 2021

Motor and memory training early in life postpones the onset of difficulties in those areas in a mouse model of Rett syndrome, and stimulating neurons involved in those skills appears to mimic the effects of training.

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