By Melissa Healy
Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are commonly treated with different forms of therapy, but a cure has yet to be found. Now, a group of researchers says an antidepressant may help, the Los Angeles Times reports. The study, reported in Science Advances, suggests that a shortage of serotonin (a neurotransmitter that acts as a natural mood stabilizer) and poor serotonin signaling are major contributors to the disorder. A generic form of Prozac seemed to improve communication and social skills, as well as reduce stress levels in infant mice bred to mimic autismlike behaviors and brain abnormalities. It would be difficult to carry out the study with humans in the near future because the medication would have to be given to children before they’re old enough to be diagnosed with ASD.
Source: Los Angeles Times