The best news on autism yet?
The title of the article on ScienceDaily.com grabbed my attention: "Autism Gene Stunts Neurons, but Growth Can Be Restored."
It's a little complicated but the short version is that it worked in mice and hopefully will work in humans. Here's a summary to the best of my understanding. (And be sure to look at the photos at the top right, which show how they got neurons to branch.)
1. There's a genetic deficiency in autism that keeps neurons from branching out to connect brain circuits.
2. Researchers were able to restore the neuronal growth in a couple ways. One was to administer BDNF (a neurotrophic factor) directly to cells.
3. This could be a big deal, but part of the problem is that some forms of autism are also caused by too MANY branches and doctors have no precise way to tell whether the child has too much or too many branches.
Here's what I read: