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The future of autism research may include a treatment

What if autism was just another treatable medical condition, something that may leave a child inconvenienced for a bit, but that could be corrected after a medical procedure? First of all, it would be a wildly popular treatment, especially in light of the growing number of people in New Jersey and across the country whose children have been diagnosed with autism.

As it is, there are a number of people living with one or more conditions on the autisim spectrum, many of whom have not been able to work because of their autism. As children, and certainly as adults, these people rely on Supplmental Security Income. With a treatable condition, however, these people may be able to revert many of the effects of autism and learn the skills necessary to make a living for themselves.

And it looks like that treatment may be closer than what many people may assume. A group of scientists have been working hard to see if stem cells from children with autism can be reprogrammed. It seems that they can be turned into brain cells, which means that, with some time, scientists may be able to create a treatment for autism.

The treatment certainly is not ready to be used in humans just yet, but the scientists have won a $1.8 million grant to continue researching autism. Though it may be ambitious, one researcher hopes to have a drug that can be used in clinical trials within three years.

For now, however, many people with autism will continue to use Supplemental Security Income as a way to help offset their costs.

Source: KNSD-TV, "UC San Diego Autism Research Described as 'Game Changer'," Liberty Zabala and R. Stickney, April 23, 2014

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