Zimmerman explains significant autism research finding

French researchers identify chemical switch that may be involved with autism

By Lisa M. Larson

UMass Medical School Communications

February 07, 2014
zimmerman-andrew
Andrew Zimmerman, MD

A new study published in the journal Science suggesting that autism may result when a chemical switch in the brain doesn’t get turned on is a significant finding, according to UMass Medical School pediatric neurologist Andrew Zimmerman, MD, who co-authored an accompanying editorial in the Feb. 9 journal.

Dr. Zimmerman, clinical professor of pediatrics, was quoted in more than a dozen media outlets explaining the study. French researchers, who used an animal model for the study, also reported that a generic diuretic could possibly treat the condition. They are conducting a clinical trial of the drug in French and Spanish children with autism.

“Brain activity is like a scale between excitation and inhibition—there has to be a balance,” Zimmerman told WBUR’s CommonHealth. “We’ve known this switch takes place but we never were able to sense before the mechanism by which this happens.”

Read the full coverage, below.

Autism Study Points Way to Calming Troubled Brains
NBC News – February 6, 2014

Testing Autism Drug In Kids, Study Blames Chemical Switch Not ‘Flipped’ At Birth
WBUR – February 6, 2014

Drug reverses autism brain activity in mice, study shows
Los Angeles Times – February 6, 2014

Autistic Behavior Is Curbed in French Animal Study of Older Drug
Bloomberg Businessweek – February 6, 2014

Drug shows promise in kids with autism, researchers say
Detroit Free Press – February 6, 2014

Autistic behavior is curbed in rodent study
Worcester Telegram & Gazette – February 6, 2014

Drug shows promise in kids with autism, researchers say
USA Today – February 6, 2014

Common drug may cure autism
The Connexion – February 7, 2014

Brain Study Explores 'Inner World' of Autism
HealthDay – February 6, 2014

Brain Study Explores ‘Inner World’ of Autism
Health.com – February 6, 2014