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Autism Reversed in Mice at MIT Lab

ScuttleMonkey posted about 7 years ago | from the only-one-man-would-dare-give-me-the-fragile-x dept.

Biotech 303

ClayTapes writes "It seems that scientists at MIT have been able to reverse the effects of autism and some forms of mental retardation in mice caused by fragile X chromosomes. They do so by targeting an enzyme that changes the structure of connections between brain cells. The treatment actually repairs these structural abnormalities which suggests that it may be possible to reverse the effects in children who already show symptoms."

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303 comments

Amazingly (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19667817)

The mice are still not talking... except for one.

Re:Amazingly (4, Funny)

Ub3rT3Rr0R1St (920830) | about 7 years ago | (#19667843)

Rain Mouse!

Re:Amazingly (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19667991)

best one word post EVAR !

Re:Amazingly (5, Funny)

fohat (168135) | about 7 years ago | (#19668461)

Rain Mouse is two words...
definitely...
definitely two words...

Re:Amazingly (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19668099)

yeah, but that one became the US president 7 years ago. And it still does not make sense when talking.

Its not about Bush .. its about porn. (1, Funny)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | about 7 years ago | (#19668293)

"Prior to treatment they showed signs of hyperactivity, purposeless and repetitive movements."

Sounds more like someone surfing the net for pr0n, accompanied by the sound of one hand clapping ...

Re:Amazingly (1, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | about 7 years ago | (#19668235)

I'd respond to this, but it's time for Wopnar.

Re:Amazingly (5, Informative)

Mix+Master+Nixon (1018716) | about 7 years ago | (#19668565)

I assume you mean Wapner. Wopnar is the evil robotic syndicated TV judge from the future. He is without mercy, and his appearance in our time is a horrifying warning to us all.

Re:Amazingly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19668791)

The mice are still not talking... except for one.


Mostly because they don't want anyone to know that they shop at K-Mart.

Definitely (1)

Bombula (670389) | about 7 years ago | (#19667833)

This is definitely a good thing. Definitely. Definitely.

Re:Definitely (2, Informative)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | about 7 years ago | (#19667883)

Wow!

Although.... I've read that a disappointing percentage of drugs that work really well in mice don't in men.

Re:Definitely (1)

DrLov3 (1025033) | about 7 years ago | (#19667995)

Maybe they'll be able to reverse Ballmer's autism soon enough, at least we hope before he decides to delete all hotmail accounts due to revenue issues or whatever.

Developpers, developpers, developpers .....

Re:Definitely (0)

misleb (129952) | about 7 years ago | (#19668187)

Ballmer is autistic too? I thought it was just Mr. Gates.

-matthew

Re:Definitely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19668327)

No, no, not Gates, or Jobs, or even Woz. It's Draper.

Re:Definitely (2, Interesting)

BlueLightSpecial (898144) | about 7 years ago | (#19668329)

Excellent to hear, I know of a family that has an autistic set of twins, but I'm not sure if it is caused by the weak X syndrome, that only accounts for a certain amount of autism cases, regardless, I've seen what it's like to live with autistic children, it is not an easy life

Not so Definitely (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 7 years ago | (#19668473)

This is definitely a good thing. Definitely. Definitely.
I may be bucking the general consensus, but a lot of people would not consider this a good thing.

First, there are the religious types, who dissapprove because "that's how God made them."

Then there are the parents (religious or not) who say "my child is special and I wouldn't want them any other way." You'd be surprised how often this sentiment gets expressed.

Not everyone believes that (and I don't mean it in a negative sense) is a laudible goal for science. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not so Definitely (3, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | about 7 years ago | (#19668595)

I may be bucking the general consensus, but a lot of people would not consider this a good thing.
If its severe autism make them take care of the autistic kid for a few years and I'm sure almost all will be begging for the drug.

First, there are the religious types, who dissapprove because "that's how God made them."
Most don't seem to mind current medicine so thats a moot point.

Then there are the parents (religious or not) who say "my child is special and I wouldn't want them any other way." You'd be surprised how often this sentiment gets expressed.
When you need to deal with an autistic kid for their whole life then I'd be surprised if you didn't rationalize it somehow to keep your own sanity.

Re:Not so Definitely (3, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | about 7 years ago | (#19668637)

First, there are the religious types, who dissapprove because "that's how God made them." Then there are the parents (religious or not) who say "my child is special and I wouldn't want them any other way." You'd be surprised how often this sentiment gets expressed.

I wouldn't say that "a lot of people" feel this way.

Also, I won't beat around the bush: These people are stupid idiots that ought to be arrested for severe child abuse. Anyone who thinks this for any reason is a bad and extraordinarily selfish parent and should immediately have their children taken away from them. Anyone who would deliberately impose a curable handicap on their children should be beaten, and I'd be happy to volunteer to be the one who brings the baseball bat and takes the first few swings. I sure as hell don't think I'd be the last one, either.

Re:Not so Definitely (1)

ChocolateNinj4 (967778) | about 7 years ago | (#19668793)

Then there are also people with autism who would not want to change themselves. I know that there are many (excuse my vagueness, but I don't know what percentage) people with autism who like the way they think, and wouldn't want to change that in order to be a "normal" person. Of course, that wouldn't really apply to infants, whose autism could be reversed and then develop without it.

A good thing??? (1)

PinkyGigglebrain (730753) | about 7 years ago | (#19668611)

Why are you so sure its a good thing?

How many of histories most creative people might have been "cured" before they achived their greatness?

I will agree that this would be great in extreme cases, but I worry about how it would be used "cure" people who just have enough autism to see the world differently and who ask the questions that "normal" people never think to ask, or don't want to. You know, the questions like "could I still see my reflection in a mirror if I traveled at the speed of light?", Einstien asked that one, and brought forth modern physics.

Think about the all the things that where invented or discovered in the course of human history, I would bet that almost all of them where made by people who had autism or Aspergers to some degree.

Re:A good thing??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19668865)

> Think about the all the things that where invented or discovered in the course of human history, I would bet that almost all of them where made by people who had autism or Aspergers to some degree.

You'd probably lose that bet. The "mad genius" myth is just that, a myth. Watch James Burke's "Connections" if you think most important inventions and discoveries were not made by people just like you and me.

Holy shit (0, Redundant)

realmolo (574068) | about 7 years ago | (#19667835)

Okay, that's pretty amazing.

Nice article (1, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 7 years ago | (#19667849)

There is hope for us yet.

Did you know, there are 773 words on that article page.

Now all we need (4, Funny)

also-rr (980579) | about 7 years ago | (#19667851)

Is a drug that turns people into mice and 99% of diseases will be a solved problem.

Re:Now all we need (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | about 7 years ago | (#19668053)

> Is a drug that turns people into mice and 99% of diseases will be a solved problem.

"Stop giving away our plans, Pinky, or I shall have to hurt you."

Re:Now all we need (1)

fishthegeek (943099) | about 7 years ago | (#19668283)

Brilliantly funny.

Re:Now all we need (2, Insightful)

cafucu (918264) | about 7 years ago | (#19668957)

OK, Brain. ZOT!!!!

Re:Now all we need (0, Redundant)

cosinezero (833532) | about 7 years ago | (#19668061)

Except cancer.

Re:Now all we need (1)

misleb (129952) | about 7 years ago | (#19668201)

Just stop feeding them insane amounts of saccharin. There. 100% solved.

-matthew

Re:Now all we need (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 7 years ago | (#19668471)

Well, If you read between the lines on this, it shows that once the damage is done, it can still be repaired in some cases. I think we will eventually find most if not all cases. My understanding is that cells split and renew themselves, if you take whatever is causing the danger or mutation away from the cell, it may divide back into normally functioning cells for all intents and purposes.

I understand the concept you were conveying. But the bigger picture is, if we can pull this idea or concept into humans, it might not be far from a cure for cancer (some some types of cancer). I know it is a stretch, but one I think is worth exploring.

great (3, Funny)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 7 years ago | (#19667861)

Just being small and furry makes it hard for mice to socialize at parties. I can't even imagine how hard it would be for an autistic mouse.

Re:great (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#19667999)

Just being small and furry makes it hard for mice to socialize at parties. I can't even imagine how hard it would be for an autistic mouse.
Well, it could be worse. They could be partying with Richard Gere.

Re:great (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#19668341)

Just being small and furry makes it hard for mice to socialize at parties. I can't even imagine how hard it would be for an autistic mouse.
Well, it could be worse. They could be partying with Richard Gere.
Flamebait? Who modded me down, a jealous gerbil?

This is good news (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | about 7 years ago | (#19667865)

I hope further research enable the technique to be used on humans.

News That Matters.

Misleading (4, Informative)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | about 7 years ago | (#19667871)

They are not sure what causes most forms of autism. The fragile X disease is something in it's own category.

Re:Misleading (2, Informative)

N3WBI3 (595976) | about 7 years ago | (#19667981)

Its a grant ploy, similar to the sales ploy used by guardisil (sp) which does not prevent all of the HPV nor all the subset of HPV that causes cervical cancer but if we say this stops cancer we can get states ot mandate it for grade school girls. Both things are good (mitigating the effects of hanging x and preventing hpv) but neither is the solution as advertised..

Not misleading, but narrow scope (4, Informative)

arth1 (260657) | about 7 years ago | (#19667993)

Also, gender chromosome related conditions are almost exclusive to men, whether the defect is on the X or the Y chromosome (the reason being that women have two X chromosomes, and a healthy one will usually mask the damaged one). So this might have some impact on treatment of certain types of male autism. Yes, that may be a narrow scope, but it's better than no scope at all.

Regards,
--
*Art

Re:Not misleading, but narrow scope (1)

xero314 (722674) | about 7 years ago | (#19668167)

gender chromosome related conditions are almost exclusive to men
It would be better put to say that chromosome related conditions are predominantly apparent in males. There are Fragile X females, but they tend to have symptoms to a much lesser degree unless they had both a fragile X father and mother. The interesting thing is that this process that reduces the symptoms of Fragile X syndrome will actually make Dual Fragile X females more likely as Fragile X males will receive more opportunities to reproduces, having more societally acceptable traits.

Re:Not misleading, but narrow scope (2, Interesting)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | about 7 years ago | (#19668297)

As far as I know the following abnormality isn't observed in autistic people:

People with Fragile X Syndrome have more dendritic spines than usual, but each is longer and thinner, and transmits weaker electric signals.

The only similarity is that fragile X syndrome has autism like symptoms. A bladder infection may give you the same symptoms as prostate cancer, but are entirely different.

Re:Not misleading, but narrow scope (1)

morari (1080535) | about 7 years ago | (#19668445)

Obviously we should be working on phasing out the entire male gender then instead of wasting time on workarounds. Take care of the problem, not the symptoms!

Re:Not misleading, but narrow scope (1)

mmortal03 (607958) | about 7 years ago | (#19668645)

Some researchers and/or theorists have thought that autism (even in women) could be this hyper or over masculinization of thought or cognition, meaning that if what you, this, and they say holds true, it might not be of such a narrow scope.

Re:Not misleading, but narrow scope (1)

StikyPad (445176) | about 7 years ago | (#19668723)

Even our genes are prolific risk takers. "I store my data like I store my genes, baby -- I keep no backups, but I give away copies for free! Woo!"

Re:Not misleading, but narrow scope (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | about 7 years ago | (#19668969)

Um, you do know that 3 out of 4 people diagnosed with autism are male, right?

Also, gender chromosome related conditions are almost exclusive to men, whether the defect is on the X or the Y chromosome (the reason being that women have two X chromosomes, and a healthy one will usually mask the damaged one). So this might have some impact on treatment of certain types of male autism

Re:Misleading (2, Insightful)

mehemiah (971799) | about 7 years ago | (#19668021)

This is a very good point. The symptoms of the Autism spectrum are exhibited through social interaction, i don't think we understand the social habits of mice well enough to say if we have actually cured it in the specimen.

Re:Misleading (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | about 7 years ago | (#19668071)

Absolutely...

Autism is a syndrome, which can be caused by a number of underlying conditions, most of which remain elusive thus far. Fragile-X is just too easy and crude of a model.

Re:Misleading (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | about 7 years ago | (#19668643)

A minority (I think it's 5 or 10 percent or around that, very low overall) of cases of autism are caused by fragile X, but it does happen, this treatment would apply only to those few.

Re:Misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19668925)

They are not sure what causes most forms of autism. The fragile X disease is something in it's own category.
Exactly, there is no way to diagnose autism in mice.

I could easily be diagnosed as autistic myself, however I do not go to the doctor, thus avoiding a whole host of illnesses and saving much money.

I look at things pretty simplistically; when life stops hurting, that means it is over.

Now that's just selfish (-1, Flamebait)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | about 7 years ago | (#19667917)

MIT scientists trying to cure something, just because it's heavily over-represented in MIT students?

I'm just saying, wouldn't it be easier to just cure datelessness?

Re:Now that's just selfish (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 7 years ago | (#19668333)

I've tried, I've even registered here [spray.se] but no babes. Well I meet a girl but she wasn't sufficient ;D

mice bred with autism? (3, Interesting)

freg (859413) | about 7 years ago | (#19667937)

I'm curious, how do u get a bunch of mice who are autistic to test? Do they make them this way through breeding or do they check thousands of mice brains to find the one poor mouse with autism? As far as I know there's no way to give something autism.

Re:mice bred with autism? (4, Informative)

N3WBI3 (595976) | about 7 years ago | (#19668017)

The autism they are dealing with is from hanging 'x' syndrome all you need to do is find a female who is trait positive (has on malformed x) and breed her. 50% of her male offspring will have the condition. You can, through trial and error, get a female with the condition by then using that male and a trait positive female (but not the mother thats icky). All of *that* females male offspring will have the condition. This is not an autism cure it is a cure for a 'type' of autism.

Re:mice bred with autism? (3, Informative)

Otter (3800) | about 7 years ago | (#19668157)

You could do that, but they were actually using an engineered mouse strain with the FMR1 gene knocked out.

Re:mice bred with autism? (1)

N3WBI3 (595976) | about 7 years ago | (#19668247)

Bah thats not science! Not fun science anyway...

Now go and get my mouse a doll house bedroom set, light the candles, put on some soft jazz and load up the water bottle with covasie!

Re:mice bred with autism? (1)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | about 7 years ago | (#19668577)

The autism they are dealing with is from hanging 'x' syndrome all you need to do is find a female who is trait positive (has on malformed x) and breed her.

I keep trying to breed with a trait positive female mouse, but after a few drinks all she wants to do is run around on her wheel. What am I doing wrong?

Daniel Benoit (1, Informative)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | about 7 years ago | (#19667947)

There have been reports that Daniel Benoit, the 7-year-old boy murdered by his pro-wrestler father Chris Benoit over the weekend, suffered from fragile X syndrome.

While it would be irresponsible to speculate whether the boy's (unconfirmed) condition had any relation to the horrible acts... I'll do it anyway, because I'll be damned if the media's speculation that Chris had "roid rage" was any less irresponsible or harmful.

If Chris Benoit took his son's life because he felt it was more merciful than allowing to live with this condition, it is an awful, awful irony that news of hope of a cure has come so immediately after the tragedy.

Re:Daniel Benoit (2, Insightful)

Skyshadow (508) | about 7 years ago | (#19668641)

If Chris Benoit took his son's life because he felt it was more merciful than allowing to live with this condition,

Right. And what condition was his wife living with when he strangled her the night before again?

Re:Daniel Benoit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19668839)

Right. And what condition was his wife living with when he strangled her the night before again?

PMS.

Sounds familiar (0, Redundant)

u8i9o0 (1057154) | about 7 years ago | (#19668015)

Was the first mouse treated named Algernon?

Maybe we should wait for any long term effects before celebrating.

Mr. Ages (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19668079)

Where is Mr. Ages?

Further information (5, Informative)

Jaqenn (996058) | about 7 years ago | (#19668019)

Here's some information for those of you interested. I'm not an authority on this, except that I once did a 6 minute presentation for one of my biology classes.

Some researchers believe that autism causes it's havoc by interfering with the brains ability to prune existing connections between neurons. This is also pointed at as the reason that many autistic children appear normal for the first X months of development...they have to build up enough neurons linked to everything else before they lose the ability to function.

For the same reason, many believe that treatments that restore the brains ability to prune those connections could restore normal function to people with autism, even if they are already adults.

Joyous times, indeed.

Re:Further information (5, Funny)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 7 years ago | (#19668105)

I'm not an authority on this, except that I once did a 6 minute presentation for one of my biology classes. On the Slashdot scale, that makes you a Doctor of Autistic Studies.

Re:Further information (1)

arbitraryaardvark (845916) | about 7 years ago | (#19668347)

Autism is a spectrum.
extrovert... "normal"... introvert... geek... slashdot reader ...AHDH... asperger's syndrome ... mild autism ...full-on autism.
2009: "Autism cured, Slashdot readership plummets."

Re:Further information (1)

hehman (448117) | about 7 years ago | (#19668965)

So where am I on the spectrum if I point out that you meant to type ADHD, not "AHDH"?

Re:Further information (1)

PCM2 (4486) | about 7 years ago | (#19668597)

Actually, this topic is a unique case. As it turns out, there are people on Slashdot with multiple degrees in autism.

Re:Further information (1)

Smight (1099639) | about 7 years ago | (#19668203)

So you're saying autism can be cured with brain damage?

I smell a new legal defense for assault with a hammer.

Re:Further information (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | about 7 years ago | (#19668741)

> Some researchers believe that autism causes it's havoc by interfering with the brains ability to prune existing connections between neurons So why do people with autistic have such *specific* disorders, such as problems with modeling other minds? This sounds like the biological equivalent of claiming some bug is caused by "a C++ function computing some binary digits incorrectly".

Finally (2, Funny)

katterjohn (726348) | about 7 years ago | (#19668037)

We've been needing some of that down here in the South for a looong time...

Oh yeah it's just a pill (3, Funny)

Arthur B. (806360) | about 7 years ago | (#19668039)

but then in the morning you find yourself unable to count matches spilled on the floor, break the bank playing blackjack and eventually communicate with the objects around you. Beware, beware.

Oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19668067)

What will 75% of kuro5hins readers use as a blank check now?

Reference (2, Informative)

Otter (3800) | about 7 years ago | (#19668075)

The paper seems to be this [nih.gov] . (It's freely accessible but I'm not going to fry the PNAS site by directly linking a PDF.)

One thing to note is that this isn't a drug; it's a dominant negative transgene, so you're not going to popping pills for this any time soon.

Re:Reference (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 7 years ago | (#19668265)

One thing to note is that this isn't a drug; it's a dominant negative transgene, so you're not going to popping pills for this any time soon.
I bet that didn't stop Keith Richards from getting high on it during the 1970s...

A tragic end (2, Funny)

CrashPoint (564165) | about 7 years ago | (#19668081)

Sadly, the project was cut short when the mice intentionally reversed the treatments, having found themselves unable to relate to their newly-lovestruck trainers.

Re:A tragic end (1)

Ub3rT3Rr0R1St (920830) | about 7 years ago | (#19668165)

Some cheese for Algernon?

Always the mice, lucky bastards (1)

kalirion (728907) | about 7 years ago | (#19668121)

Why is it that all the good things happen to mice? I have to agree with Scott Adams' views [typepad.com] on this one.

No vaccinations? (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 7 years ago | (#19668125)

So did they stop giving them shots with thimerosal?

Re:No vaccinations? (1)

Choad Namath (907723) | about 7 years ago | (#19668683)

Or maybe they just told them they stopped, seems like it would work with most of those vaccine nuts.

Hope for autustic mice exists (1)

gavinjolly (584983) | about 7 years ago | (#19668131)

I for one am very happy to know that there is hope for Autistic mice.

When will the treatment be available in pet shops.

Clap Clap Applaud Applaud (0, Offtopic)

Doug Dante (22218) | about 7 years ago | (#19668151)

Clap Clap Applaud Applaud

Hurray!

Autism Acceptance Movement? (2, Insightful)

VE3OGG (1034632) | about 7 years ago | (#19668227)

I have always wondered how such a cure for (types of) autism would be handled when you factor in the push by some to recognize Autism as merely another frame of mind (so to speak). Similar to the mutants in X-Men III when faced with the cure, parents would be faced with allowing their child to grow up austistic (with all the advantages it conveys, and all of the disadvantages) or to give the child a "normal" life, however that may be defined and again, with all the benefits and drawbacks thereof.

Autism Acceptance [wikipedia.org]

Re:Autism Acceptance Movement? (2, Informative)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | about 7 years ago | (#19668459)

Maybe we should have a 'Diabetes Acceptance' movement where we let people with diabetes go into shock as nature intended them too.

It's a shame there is still a stigma attached to helping people with mental problems....
BTW I have a son diagnosed with autism and it is heart breaking seeing him struggle with things that are so easy for others.

Re:Autism Acceptance Movement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19668593)

Autism has advantages. What advantages does diabetes have?

Try making a realistic analogy next time.

Re:Autism Acceptance Movement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19668759)

I think it's safe to assume that anyone with a nick "Penis Cleaver" is trolling. Nay, not even trolling. Trolling is supposed to subtle, it's just argumentative crapflooding on his part.

Re:Autism Acceptance Movement? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | about 7 years ago | (#19668797)

What advantages does autism have?

Re:Autism Acceptance Movement? (1)

joseph449008 (1121209) | about 7 years ago | (#19668961)

That's a rather simplistic understanding of autism acceptance, and disability rights as a whole for that matter. Diabetes needs to be constructed as a medical condition, because to do otherwise would mean that persons afflicted with the condition could die. Diabetes is treatable medically, and treatment can prolong life. The same does not apply to autism or to most so-called "mental diseases". It's not clear that the medical model is the best model for autism. Certainly, the medical model has been a failure in the autism field so far (despite news like this that keep popping up every other week it seems). That's why some people push for a social model of disability instead. That probably includes most adults who identify themselves as autistic and even some children. Plus some parents. I'm also a parent, BTW.

Re:Autism Acceptance Movement? (2, Informative)

SwordsmanLuke (1083699) | about 7 years ago | (#19668557)

with all the advantages it conveys, and all of the disadvantages

I'm just curious, but to what are you referring to as "advantages?" Autism runs in my family and I'm hard pressed to see how it has given them any advantages in life. I have 7 cousins and one uncle with varying degrees of autism. My uncle is an autistic savant[1] with an incredible command of military history and equipment, but the mental maturity of a 6 year old. He has an incredible capability, but his disability leaves him unable to put it to any practical use. As for my cousins, their level of disability runs the gamut, from one who can speak only in single-word bursts to a slightly awkward sufferer of Aspberger's[2] syndrome.

I understand the common conception that people suffering from Autism are just "differently abled." But really, most of them are not. Some, like my cousin with Aspberger's, can function in society, but will always feel alienated. This is not because people just aren't willing to accept them (as with the X-Men) but because they literally are unable to react "normally" to human emotion. This is usually the best quality of life you can people suffering from Autism can hope for. The majority of the sufferers are unable to live independent of live-in care and will never be able to contribute to society.

If I were in the position of choosing whether or not to cure my child of *any* degree of autism, it'd be a no-brainer for me. Bring on the drugs!

1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autistic_savant [wikipedia.org]
2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aspberger's_Syndrome [wikipedia.org]

Re:Autism Acceptance Movement? (1)

chefmonkey (140671) | about 7 years ago | (#19668613)

You raise a good point. The topic has been pretty well explored in sci-fi as well. Consider the ultimate regret of the character of Wang Mu from Card's Children of the Mind -- or, more appropriately, the tragedy of Matthew from Asimov's short story "Light Verse [wikipedia.org] ". Will the solution be worth what one gives up for it? If such a "cure" is available, who will be allowed to make that decision? It will be far too easy to argue that an autistic individual isn't in a position to decide such things for himself.

More directly: Einstein had a wide variety of social problems that were likely linked inextricably with his unusual mental acuity. If we had the technology to "cure" him, what would the world look like now?

Mental stability (4, Interesting)

steveo777 (183629) | about 7 years ago | (#19668259)

I've known a few autistic people growing up. Either through school, church, or friends. And I have to wonder. With all the support, drugs and training that goes into helping these people live 'normal' lives... what would happen if this gene therapy could cure adults? I'm well aware that this treatment is far from being used on any human, and I'm all for curing disease, so don't get me wrong. But will some one just wake up and feel 'free'? Or will it take time for them to get used to thinking 'normally'?

Maybe the answer is just as simple as 'cured'. But something tells me that it will never be that simple.

Re:Mental stability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19668519)

Most likely it will be like people learning to walk again after a crippling injury. Years of therapy, and eventually they'll work it out.

Autism (1)

Mockylock (1087585) | about 7 years ago | (#19668279)

How can they determine a mouse has autism?

Re:Autism (1)

dvice_null (981029) | about 7 years ago | (#19668527)

They give it a computer and monitor does it go to slahdot.org or to myspace.com.

not again (1)

snoozykat (1121181) | about 7 years ago | (#19668443)

Fragile X is in the Autism spectrum but to say it 'cures autism' is very misleading. I find these types of press releases very detrimental for parents with children with autism, it gives them false hope. Last night on nightline they focused upon two differing views on autism treatments and causes and I found some of it very disturbing and downright reckless "science".

Re:not again (2, Insightful)

tthomas48 (180798) | about 7 years ago | (#19668899)

Why is this false hope? A cure for one type of a disease generally leads to better understanding, and the ability to focus on other parts of the disease.

You could accuse them of giving false hope if they were recommending feeding autistic children 7 gallons of cod liver oil, or some other snake oil cure. But an advance in real science should inspire real hope that we can completely solve this puzzle some day.

Algernon (3, Funny)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | about 7 years ago | (#19668529)

"P.S. please if you get a chanse put some flowrs on Algernons grave in the bak yard."

The Speed of Dark (2, Insightful)

Sibko (1036168) | about 7 years ago | (#19668569)

This is really fascinating. There's a rather good book I read, "The Speed of Dark" by Elizabeth Moon that talks about this very thing.

"If I had not been what I am, what would I have been?" wonders Lou Arrendale, the autistic hero of Moon's compelling exploration of the concept of "normalcy" and what might happen when medical science attains the knowledge to "cure" adult autism. Arrendale narrates most of this book in a poignant earnestness that verges on the philosophical and showcases Moon's gift for characterization. The occasional third-person interjections from supporting characters are almost intrusive, although they supply needed data regarding subplots. At 35, Arrendale is a bioinformatics specialist who has a gift for pattern analysis and an ability to function well in both "normal" and "autistic" worlds. When the pharmaceutical company he works for recommends that all the autistic employees on staff undergo an experimental procedure that will basically alter their brains, his neatly ordered world shatters. All his life he has been taught "act normal, and you will be normal enough"-something that has enabled him to survive, but as he struggles to decide what to do, the violent behavior of a "normal friend" puts him in danger and rocks his faith in the normal world. He struggles to decide whether the treatment will help or destroy his sense of self. Is autism a disease or just another way of being? He is haunted by the "speed of dark" as he proceeds with his mesmerizing quest for self-"Not knowing arrives before knowing; the future arrives before the present. From this moment, past and future are the same in different directions, but I am going that way and not this way.... When I get there, the speed of light and the speed of dark will be the same." His decision will touch even the most jaded "normal."

Karma (1)

Joebert (946227) | about 7 years ago | (#19668585)

There's no possibility of a 7'6" 320LB retarded kid having parts of his brain repaired that would make him realize he was being picked on or remember the names of those people with this research, right ?

mod 0P (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19668609)

progress. In 1992, oJverly morbid and may well remain

Obligatory... (2, Funny)

deblau (68023) | about 7 years ago | (#19668733)

I for one welcome our socially outgoing, well-adjusted, fuzzy minuscule overlords.

Dupe? (2, Interesting)

ozbird (127571) | about 7 years ago | (#19668825)

"Flowers for Algernon", Daniel Keyes...

Feedback loop (2, Funny)

paleo2002 (1079697) | about 7 years ago | (#19668851)

But, People magazine and Tom Cruise told me that vaccines cause autism! How can a vaccine cure autism?

Retard mice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19668963)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of these!
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