Rat Study Examines Psilocybin as Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder

Rat Study Examines Psilocybin as Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder
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Little by little, researchers are exploring the effects of psilocybin on people living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)—and the evidence showing the compound’s promise in treating the condition continues to grow. There is no cure for ASD or similar conditions, so many families resort to behavioral therapies, with few other options on the table. But a rise in alternative therapies involving cannabis or psychedelics is forming, with notable promise from psilocybin. A study published in the journal Psychopharmacology examined the effects of psilocybin microdoses on Fragile X syndrome (FXS)—a leading cause of autism. FXS is the most common form of inherited intellectual disability (ID) and the leading cause of ASD involving one gene.  Researchers gave different doses of psilocybin to test rats and then tested their cognitive abilities. They examined cognitive deficits displayed by the recently validated Fmr1-Δexon 8 rat “model of ASD,” which is also a model of FXS, and how psilocybin plays a role.  The study, “Psilocybin mitigates the cognitive deficits observed in a rat model of Fragile X syndrome,” examined rat microdoses of psilocybin for 5-14 day periods. Serotonin insufficiencies during childhood may have an impact on brain patterning in neurodevelopmental disorders, manifesting as behavioral and emotional symptoms, researchers explained in the study. And since psilocybin stimulates serotonergic signaling, it may offer promise as effective early interventions for developmental disorders such as ASD and FXS. Researchers first gave rats a single large dose of psilocybin and then tested any changes to their cognitive abilities, finding some improvements. Rats that did not have FXS led to reductions in cognitive performance.  Researchers then gave another group of rats microdoses over the course of five days, giving them cognition tests daily.  They observed improvements in all of the rats to the extent that their cognition results were nearly identical to…

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Source : Rat Study Examines Psilocybin as Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder

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