Recent findings in mice suggest that it is possible to reverse certain neurodevelopmental disorders in adults. Changes in development, previously thought to be irreparable in adults, were believed to underlie the neurological and psychiatric phenotypes of a range of common mental health problems with a clear developmental component. As a consequence, most researchers have focused their efforts on understanding the molecular and cellular processes that alter development with the hope that early intervention could prevent the emergent pathology. Unexpectedly, several different animal model studies published recently, including animal models of autism, suggest that it may be possible to reverse neurodevelopmental disorders in adults: Addressing the underlying molecular and cellular deficits in adults could in several cases dramatically improve the neurocognitive phenotypes in these animal models. The findings reviewed here provide hope to millions of individuals afflicted with a wide range of neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, since they suggest that it may be possible to treat or even cure them in adults.
Silva, A. J., & Ehninger, D. (2009). Adult reversal of cognitive phenotypes in neurodevelopmental disorders. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 1(2), 150–157. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11689-009-9018-7