Sunday, November 27, 2011

Opposites that aren’t so Opposite: Clues about Autism and how Opposite Malfunctions have the same Results

According to a recent study led by MIT neuroscientists, another discovery about an “autism-like” disease could lead to another genetic clue about autism. Mark Bear, a professor of Neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), led the study and his findings were published in the November Issue of Nature. The study led to the discovery that tuberous sclerosis, a rare disease that leads to autism and intellectual disability is caused by a malfunctioning variation in a single gene. The malfunction causes an underproduction of proteins in brain synapses. This particular study produced puzzling results, since the same team lead by Mark Bear, did a similar prior study on Fragile X syndrome. Except Fragile X syndrome, another rare disorder with autism-like symptoms had the opposite malfunction, where there was an overproduction of proteins in brain synapses. The study concluded that diseases regarding too much or too little protein synthesis can be identified on an axis and depending where that patient lies on that axis will determine the type of treatment.

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