Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Research shows gene defect's role in autism-like behavior

August 13, 2012

Scientists affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute have discovered how a defective gene causes brain changes that lead to the atypical social behavior characteristic of autism. The research offers a potential target for drugs to treat the condition.

Earlier research already has shown that the gene is defective in children with autism, but its effect on neurons in the brain was not known. The new studies in mice show that abnormal action of just this one gene disrupted energy use in neurons. The harmful changes were coupled with antisocial and prolonged repetitive behavior -- traits found in autism.

The research is published online today in the scientific journal PLoS ONE.

"A number of genes and environmental factors have been shown to be involved in autism, but this study points to a mechanism -- how one gene defect may trigger this type of neurological behavior," said study senior author Cecilia Giulivi, professor of molecular biosciences in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and a researcher affiliated with the UC Davis MIND Institute.

"Once you understand the mechanism, that opens the way for developing drugs to treat the condition," she said.

The defective gene appears to disrupt neurons' use of energy, Giulivi said, the critical process that relies on the cell's molecular energy factories called mitochondria.

In the research, a gene called pten was tweaked in the mice so that neurons lacked the normal amount of pten's protein. The scientists detected malfunctioning mitochondria in the mice as early as 4 to 6 weeks after birth.

By 20 to 29 weeks, DNA damage in the mitochondria and disruption of their function had increased dramatically. At this time the mice began to avoid contact with their litter mates and engage in repetitive grooming behavior. Mice without the single gene change exhibited neither the mitochondria malfunctions nor the behavioral problems.

The antisocial behavior was most pronounced in the mice at an age comparable in humans to the early teenage years, when schizophrenia and other behavioral disorders become most apparent, Giulivi said.

The research showed that, when defective, pten's protein interacts with the protein of a second gene known as p53 to dampen energy production in neurons. This severe stress leads to a spike in harmful mitochondrial DNA changes and abnormal levels of energy production in the cerebellum and hippocampus -- brain regions critical for social behavior and cognition.

Pten mutations previously have been linked to Alzheimer's disease as well as a spectrum of autism disorders. The new research shows that when pten protein was insufficient, its interaction with p53 triggered deficiencies and defects in other proteins that also have been found in patients with learning disabilities including autism.

University of California - Davis Health System


Related Autism Current Events and Autism News Articles


Smoking during pregnancy associated with increased risk of schizophrenia in offspring
A study by researchers at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), New York State Psychiatric Institute and colleagues in Finland reports an association between smoking during pregnancy and increased risk for schizophrenia in children.

Social media poses threat to people with intellectual disabilities
People with intellectual disabilities are more susceptible to exploitation and abuse, and the rise of the Internet only increases their vulnerability.

Refugee children's academic outcomes similar to non-refugee peers despite learning challenges
Refugee children had similar academic success as other children if adequately supported, despite having more behavioural and emotional problems overall, a comprehensive review has found.

Colors of autism spectrum described by CanChild researchers
Children with autism have a wide range of ability to talk with other people, but it has been difficult to group children by their specific skills.

'Virtual partner' elicits emotional responses from a human partner in real-time
Can machines think? That's what renowned mathematician Alan Turing sought to understand back in the 1950s when he created an imitation game to find out if a human interrogator could tell a human from a machine based solely on conversation deprived of physical cues.

Review finds fathers' age, lifestyle associated with birth defects
A growing body of research is revealing associations between birth defects and a father's age, alcohol use and environmental factors, say researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center. They say these defects result from epigenetic alterations that can potentially affect multiple generations.

Raising a child with autism
Humans are resilient, even facing the toughest of life's challenges. How individuals and families deal with demanding and emotionally charged circumstances plays a large role in how they view and face the world and the possible outcomes of a difficult situation.

Putting the spotlight on folic acid supplementation in pregnancy
Future Science Group (FSG) today announced the publication of a new article in Future Science OA, reviewing national and international guidelines for folic acid supplementation, and analyzing its potential risks and benefits in terms of maternal and fetal outcomes.

First structural views of the NMDA receptor in action will aid drug development
Structural biologists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and Janelia Research Campus/HHMI, have obtained snapshots of the activation of an important type of brain-cell receptor.

Origin of synaptic pruning process linked to learning, autism and schizophrenia identified
Research led by SUNY Downstate Medical Center has identified a brain receptor that appears to initiate adolescent synaptic pruning, a process believed necessary for learning, but one that appears to go awry in both autism and schizophrenia.
More Autism Current Events and Autism News Articles

Autism Breakthrough: The Groundbreaking Method That Has Helped Families All Over the World

Autism Breakthrough: The Groundbreaking Method That Has Helped Families All Over the World
by Raun K. Kaufman (Author)


As a boy, Raun Kaufman was diagnosed by multiple experts as severely autistic, with an IQ below 30, and destined to spend his life in an institution. Years later, Raun graduated with a degree in Biomedical Ethics from Brown University and has become a passionate and articulate autism expert and educator with no trace of his former condition.
So what happened?Thanks to The Son-Rise Program, a revolutionary method created by his parents, Raun experienced a full recovery from autism. (His story was recounted in the best-selling book Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues and in the award-winning NBC television movie Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love.) In Autism Breakthrough, Raun presents the ground-breaking principles behind the program that helped him and thousands of other families with special...

101 Games and Activities for Children With Autism, Asperger's and Sensory Processing Disorders

101 Games and Activities for Children With Autism, Asperger's and Sensory Processing Disorders
by Tara Delaney (Author)


LEARNING THROUGH PLAY One of the best ways for children with autism, Asperger's, and sensory processing disorders to learn is through play. Children improve their motor skills, language skills, and social skills by moving their bodies and interacting with their environment. Yet the biggest challenges parents, teachers, and loved ones face with children on the autism spectrum or with sensory processing disorders is how to successfully engage them in play. Pediatric occupational therapist Tara Delaney provides the answer. In 101 Games and Activities for Children with Autism, Asperger's, and Sensory Processing Disorders, she shows you how to teach your children by moving their bodies through play. These interactive games are quick to learn but will provide hours of fun and learning for...

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism

The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism
by Naoki Higashida (Author), KA Yoshida (Translator), David Mitchell (Translator)


“One of the most remarkable books I’ve ever read. It’s truly moving, eye-opening, incredibly vivid.”—Jon Stewart, The Daily Show

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
NPR • The Wall Street Journal • Bloomberg Business • Bookish

FINALIST FOR THE BOOKS FOR A BETTER LIFE FIRST BOOK AWARD • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

You’ve never read a book like The Reason I Jump. Written by Naoki Higashida, a very smart, very self-aware, and very charming thirteen-year-old boy with autism, it is a one-of-a-kind memoir that demonstrates how an autistic mind thinks, feels, perceives, and responds in ways few of us can imagine. Parents and family members who never thought they could get inside the head of their autistic loved one at last have a way to break...

Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism

Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism
by Barry M. Prizant (Author), Tom Fields-Meyer (Contributor)


A groundbreaking book on autism, by one of the world’s leading experts, who portrays autism as a unique way of being human—this is “required reading....Breathtakingly simple and profoundly positive” (Chicago Tribune).

Autism therapy typically focuses on ridding individuals of “autistic” symptoms such as difficulties interacting socially, problems in communicating, sensory challenges, and repetitive behavior patterns. Now Dr. Barry M. Prizant offers a new and compelling paradigm: the most successful approaches to autism don’t aim at fixing a person by eliminating symptoms, but rather seeking to understand the individual’s experience and what underlies the behavior.

“A must-read for anyone touched by autism... Dr. Prizant’s Uniquely Human is a crucial step...

Autism Spectrum Disorder (revised): The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism

Autism Spectrum Disorder (revised): The Complete Guide to Understanding Autism
by Chantal Sicile-Kira (Author)


Newly revised and updated, this award-winning guide covers every aspect of understanding and living with autism today

Comprehensive and authoritative, Autism Spectrum Disorders explains all aspects of the condition, and is written for parents, educators, caregivers, and others looking for accurate information and expert insight. Newly updated to reflect the latest research, treatment methods, and DSM-V criteria, this invaluable book covers:

• The causes of autism spectrum disorders
• Getting an accurate diagnosis
• Treatments based on behavioral, psychological, and biomedical interventions
• Coping strategies for families and education needs and programs
• Living and working conditions for adults with ASD
• Community interaction and teaching...

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew: Updated and Expanded Edition
by Ellen Notbohm (Author), Veronica Zysk (Editor)


A bestseller gets even better!  Every parent, teacher, social worker, therapist, and physician should have this succinct and informative book in their back pocket. Framed with both humor and compassion, the book describes ten characteristics that help illuminate—not define—children with autism.
Ellen’s personal experiences as a parent of children with autism and ADHD, a celebrated autism author, and a contributor to numerous publications, classrooms, conferences, and websites around the world coalesce to create a guide for all who come in contact with a child on the autism spectrum. This updated edition delves into expanded thought and deeper discussion of communication issues, social processing skills, and the critical roles adult perspectives play in guiding the child with...

I See Things Differently: A First Look at Autism

I See Things Differently: A First Look at Autism
by Pat Thomas (Author)


Psychotherapist and counselor Pat Thomas puts her gentle, yet straightforward approach to work in this new addition to Barron's highly acclaimed A First Look At...Series. This book will help children understand what autism is and how it affects someone who has it. A wonderful catalyst for discussion that will help children to better understand and support autistic classmates or siblings. The story line is simple and easily accessible to younger children, who will learn that exploring the personal feelings around social issues is a first step in dealing with them. Full-color illustrations on every page.

NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity
by Steve Silberman (Author), Oliver Sacks (Foreword)


A New York Times bestseller

Winner of the 2015 Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction

A groundbreaking book that upends conventional thinking about autism and suggests a broader model for acceptance, understanding, and full participation in society for people who think differently.
 
What is autism? A lifelong disability, or a naturally occurring form of cognitive difference akin to certain forms of genius? In truth, it is all of these things and more—and the future of our society depends on our understanding it. WIRED reporter Steve Silberman unearths the secret history of autism, long suppressed by the same clinicians who became famous for discovering it, and finds surprising answers to the crucial question of why the number of diagnoses has soared in recent...

The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed

The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed
by Temple Grandin (Author), Richard Panek (Author)


“The right brain has created the right book for right now.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Temple Grandin may be the most famous person with autism, a condition that affects 1 in 88 children. Since her birth in 1947, our understanding of it has undergone a great transformation, leading to more hope than ever before that we may finally learn the causes of and treatments for autism.

Weaving her own experience with remarkable new discoveries, Grandin introduces the advances in neuroimaging and genetic research that link brain science to behavior, even sharing her own brain scan to show which anomalies might explain common symptoms. Most excitingly, she argues that raising and educating kids on the autism spectrum must focus on their long-overlooked strengths to foster...

Autism: 44 Ways to Understanding- Aspergers Syndrome, ADHD, ADD, and Special Needs

Autism: 44 Ways to Understanding- Aspergers Syndrome, ADHD, ADD, and Special Needs
by Margaret LaRue (Author)


Do you have a loved one that you want to Understand Better? Do you want to better understand the ways to care for, educate, and support someone with unique learning abilities? When you buy Autism: 44 Ways to Understanding- Aspergers Syndrome, ADHD, ADD, and Special Needs, your will see a difference in your interactions each day! You will discover some of the most important aspects of AS, ADHD, ADD, and other special needs of both children and adults. This book breaks these ways into easy to read points. It starts from the very beginning of defining AS, ADD, and ADHD, so you can identify now and transitions to how to cope and help them to thrive!

© 2016 BrightSurf.com