On this week’s podcast, a study led by Elizabeth Berg in the lab of Dr. Jill Silverman at UC Davis published in the journal Autism Research demonstrated SHANK3’s role in core social communication deficits in a rat model of autism. Rats exhibit both receptive and expressive communication. SHANK3 mutations are seen in those with Phelan-McDermid Syndrome as well as in 1% of people with autism. This new study opens up new ways to understand autism symptoms in an animal model, and moves autism research using animals forward significantly.
On this week’s podcast, Dr. Katherine Stavropoulos (ASF Grantee ’14) highlights her research with her UC Riverside colleague Dr. Leslie Carver on brain patterns that may explain the social communication deficits present in ASD. Plus, recent research from the Study to Explore Early Development led by Dr. Eric Rubenstein of UNC presented findings that demonstrated increased odds of autism symptoms for children of at least one parent with broader autism phenotype.
Parents of children with seizures are desperate to find something that will at the very least reduce the frequency of seizures in their kids. Answers came in an unlikely place two months ago with the publication of a randomized clinical trial showing that seizures could be reduced with use of cannabinoids in kids with a condition called Dravet’s Syndrome. Cannabinoids are one of the chemicals found in marijuana, and there are anecdotal reports on the use of marijuana or cannabinoids to treat autism. Unlike THC, CBD (cannabinoids) do not cause euphoria or any psychoactive effects and are used exclusively for medicinal reasons. This podcast summarizes current literature and also explains why it is so hard to study cannabinoids, including federal and state regulations and what needs to happen to open up this field of science