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What We Have Learned about Autism Spectrum Disorder from Valproic Acid.

Two recent epidemiological investigations in children exposed to valproic acid (VPA) treatment in utero have reported a significant risk associated with neurodevelopmental disorders and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in particular. Parallel to this work, there is a growing body of animal research literature using VPA as an animal model of ASD. In this focused review we first summarize the epidemiological evidence linking VPA to ASD and then comment on two important neurobiological findings linking VPA to ASD clinicopathology, namely, accelerated or early brain overgrowth and hyperexcitable networks. Improving our understanding of how the drug VPA can alter early development of neurological systems will ultimately improve our understanding of ASD.

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