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

Species shift: Bacteria of the genus Bifidobacterium become more abundant in the gut of children who receive a microbial transplant.
Scimat / Science Source

Microbial transplant may treat gut, social problems

by  /  22 March 2017
Replacing the microbes that inhabit the gut may ease digestive troubles and social difficulties in children with autism.
Features / Deep Dive
Spectum_Opener copy

Meet the newest contestant in the scientific rat race

by  /  15 March 2017
Mice have long been the mainstay of autism research, but a small group of scientists say rats are the superior choice. Rats are bigger, smarter, friendlier — and a lot more fun.
Pair bonding: Babies with Prader-Willi syndrome who receive oxytocin show improved interactions with their mothers.Monashee Alonso / Getty Images

Oxytocin boosts social skills in autism-related syndrome

by  /  15 March 2017
One week of treatment with the hormone oxytocin improves social skills and feeding in infants with Prader-Willi syndrome.
March 2017
Boy holds tennis racket on court with teacher
Opinion / Viewpoint

Tennis program serves up benefits for children with autism

by  /  7 March 2017

Tennis is a social game, requiring players to predict and respond to their opponent’s behavior. That may help some children with autism.

February 2017
Courtesy Everett Collection
Opinion / Viewpoint

Animated sidekick connects parents to children with autism

by  /  21 February 2017

In a new type of therapy for autism, parents talk or type into their phone or computer, and their words emerge in the voice of an animated character.

Features / Webinars

Webinar: Deborah Fein discusses an ‘optimal outcome’ in autism

26 April 2017

Reserve your spot for this webinar. Register now.

Photography by Vanessa McKeown
Features / Deep Dive

Why don’t we have better drugs for autism?

by  /  15 February 2017

Clinical trials for autism drugs have been plagued with problems: bad design, the wrong measures, too broad a range of participants. All that is finally starting to change.

Photography by Vanessa McKeown
Opinion / Q&A

Questions for Gahan Pandina: New tool may aid autism trials

by  /  14 February 2017

A new ‘knowledge engine’ collects reams of behavioral and sensory data to create highly sensitive outcome measures for autism drugs.

Features / Deep Dive

This is a story of autism in small-town America

by  /  1 February 2017

Rural living can be wonderful: community, friendly faces, a slower pace of life. But when there’s autism in the family, it can be tough.

January 2017
Brain boost: A virus that delivers pieces of RNA (green) to cells boosts expression of the FOXG1 gene (red) in a mouse brain.

New approach may treat autism by dialing up genes

by  /  26 January 2017

Injecting tiny pieces of RNA into the brain may someday serve as a therapy for certain forms of autism.


Drugmakers manipulate orphan drug rules to create monopolies

by , ,  /  24 January 2017

The system intended to help those with rare diseases is being manipulated by drugmakers to maximize profits and to protect niche markets for medicines that millions of people already take — and it’s all legal.

Pep Boatella

Experimental autism treatments put to test in real world

by  /  16 January 2017

Researchers are modifying autism therapies for the various communities tasked with implementing them — a move they hope will make treatments more effective for and accessible to all children.

Moving target: Brain waves known as beta oscillations reflect brain activity that controls body movements and may signal telltale changes in DNA.AJPhoto / Science Source

Brain-wave patterns distinguish dup15q syndrome

by  /  13 January 2017

Children with an extra copy of the 15q11-13 chromosomal region, the second most common genetic abnormality in people with autism, have unusually strong brain waves called beta oscillations. The preliminary findings, presented Friday at the Dup15q Alliance Scientific Meeting in Orlando, Florida, suggest that beta oscillations could distinguish children with dup15q syndrome from those with other forms of autism.

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