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A drug called bumetanide, which has been used to treat edema, improved some symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in young children, and with no significant side effects, according to a study in Translational Psychiatry. Researchers treated 42 children in China with ASD, ages 3 to 6, with 0.5 milligrams of bumetanide twice a day for three months while a control group of 41 similarly aged children with ASD received no treatment. The researchers assessed behaviors such as imitation, emotional response, and verbal and nonverbal communication. The children who received the drug showed improvements in behavior, while those not receiving the drug showed little change. Also, the drug led to a decrease in ratio of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) to glutamate in the brain, suggesting that this ratio could serve as a biomarker for the effectiveness of autism treatments. (Monitor on Psychology)

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