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Maternal ‘love hormone,’ HF drug treatments affect offspring’s autism

By Anette Breindl
Science Editor

Thursday, February 6, 2014
Researchers have shown that in two animal models of autism, it was possible to prevent autism symptoms from developing in offspring by treating their mothers with the diuretic drug Bumex (bumetanide, Roche AG) before and during delivery. Conversely, blocking oxytocin signaling in mothers during delivery could lead to autism-like neuronal activity and behavior in their offspring. Speaking about the results, which were reported in the Feb. 7, 2014, issue of Science, senior author Yehezkel Ben-Ari told reporters that he did not think the work would ultimately result in preventive treatment for pregnant mothers. Such treatment would be “too complicated, ethically and conceptually,” especially given that autism spectrum disorders cannot be diagnosed prenatally.

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