Autism may reflect a brain imbalance

  • A study by Stanford University investigators suggests that key features of autism reflect an imbalance in signalling from excitatory and inhibitory neurons in a portion of the forebrain, and that reversing the imbalance could alleviate some of its hallmark symptoms.

  • In a series of experiments conducted on a mouse model of the disorder, the scientists showed that reducing the ratio of excitatory to inhibitory signalling countered hyperactivity and deficits in social ability, two classic symptoms of autism in humans. 

  • The findings were based on studies on lab mice bioengineered to mimic human autism.

  • These mice carry a mutation equivalent to a corresponding mutation in humans that is associated with autism spectrum disorder.


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