Assault on Autism | Science News

SCIENCE NEWS NEEDS YOU

Support nonprofit journalism

Subscribe now


Feature

Assault on Autism

Scientists target drugs and other environmental agents that may play a role

By
11:01am, November 9, 2004

Beth Crowell remembers the day in 1989 when her triplets, Casey, Andrew, and Erin, were about 15 months old. Crowell put Erin down on the floor to crawl. "But she just sat there, fixated on the red shag carpeting," says the Housatonic, Mass., mother of four. The toddlers were often sick, and "none of them made eye contact," Crowell recalls. A medical evaluation was devastating: All three babies had autism. Children with autism typically have trouble communicating, interacting socially, and controlling their behavior. Those most severely affected seem to live in a world of their own. Various treatments sometimes reduce symptoms, especially if children are diagnosed early. But there is no cure for autism, which has baffled the medical community since the disorder was first described in 1943.

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content