Science News: A severely autistic 13-year-old boy received experimental treatment that involved the implantation of electrodes in his brain. A team of doctors led by Volker Sturm of the University Hospital of Cologne in Germany targeted several areas of the boy’s brain and found that stimulation of part of the amygdala—an area connected to emotion and memory—significantly improved his condition. Prior to beginning treatment, the boy was prone to injure himself, did not make eye contact, often woke up screaming, and couldn’t talk. After eight weeks of therapy, his autism symptoms improved, and his level of irritability changed from “severely ill” to “moderately ill.” After six months, he began to use simple words. Sturm’s team believes that the brain stimulation was directly connected to the improvement. After 44 weeks of treatment, the batteries in the device died. It took a month to get them replaced, and during that time, the boy’s condition worsened. Once new batteries were installed, he began improving again. Nevertheless, until deep brain stimulation can be studied in a larger population, the treatment remains experimental for autism and other neurological disorders.