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Autism discoveries point to potential protein-targeted treatments

Autism is a diverse disease that causes a range of symptoms, from repetitive behaviors to extreme sensitivity to noise.

This week, two separate research teams are shedding light on two different proteins that seem to play a role in causing some autism symptoms. Both believe their findings could point to new treatment strategies.

Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes zeroed in on tau, a protein that’s most closely associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers were investigating a connection between Alzheimer’s and epilepsy when they made a surprising discovery that reducing levels of tau in mouse models of autism prevented three of the main symptoms of the disease: repetition, difficulty socializing and impaired communication. It also prevented seizures, which affect about one-third of autism patients, they reported in the journal Neuron.




Gladstone Institutes



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