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Friday, February 19, 2016

Neuroscientists Reverse Autism Symptoms

Neuroscientists Reverse Autism Symptoms

Turning on a gene later in life can restore typical behavior in mice.

Anne Trafton | Feburary 17, 2016

Autism has diverse genetic causes, most of which are still unknown. About 1 percent of people with autism are missing a gene called Shank3, which is critical for brain development. Without this gene, individuals develop typical autism symptoms including repetitive behavior and avoidance of social interactions.
In a study of mice, MIT researchers have now shown that they can reverse some of those behavioral symptoms by turning the gene back on later in life, allowing the brain to properly rewire itself.
“This suggests that even in the adult brain we have profound plasticity to some degree,” says Guoping Feng, an MIT professor of brain and cognitive sciences. “There is more and more evidence showing that some of the defects are indeed reversible, giving hope that we can develop treatment for autistic patients in the future.”


<more at; related links: (Untapped region of a brain cell 'contains hidden autism genes - and could offer a goldmine of targets for new treatments'. Overlooked brain area has a 'motherlode' of autism genes, study found. These genes are mutated Rbfox1 - which regulates cell proteins. When Rbfox1 genes 'go awry', it can increase the risk of autism
Scientists discovered a region of cells full packed with Rbfox1 genes. This finding provides fresh drug targets for new therapies. January 13, 2016) and (Could Autism Be the Next Stage of Human Evolution? November 6, 2007)>

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