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


Heritability of autism spectrum disorder studied in UK twins
Substantial genetic and moderate environmental influences were associated with risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and broader autism traits in a study of twins in the United Kingdom.

Carnegie Mellon neuroscientists identify new way several brain areas communicate
Carnegie Mellon University neuroscientists have identified a new pathway by which several brain areas communicate within the brain's striatum.

UCLA researchers devise new method to identify disease markers
UCLA life scientists have created an accurate new method to identify genetic markers for many diseases -- a significant step toward a new era of personalized medicine, tailored to each person's DNA and RNA.

Oxytocin may enhance social function in psychiatric disorders Emory Health Sciences
Researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, have shown inducing the release of brain oxytocin may be a viable therapeutic option for enhancing social function in psychiatric disorders, including autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.

Pediatricians face increasing pressure to delay vaccinations
Pediatricians are facing increasing pressure from some parents who want to spread out the recommended vaccine schedule for their children by postponing vaccines, pointing to a need for improved programs that support timely vaccinations.

Newly discovered neurons predict the cooperative behavior of others
Social interactions rely on the ability to anticipate others' intentions and actions, and identifying neurons that reflect another individual's so-called "state of mind" has been a long-sought goal in neuroscience.

MGH study identifies neurons that help predict what another individual will do
Every day we make decisions based on predicting what someone else will do - from deciding whether the driver approaching an intersection will stop for the red light to determining whether a particular negotiation strategy will result in a desired outcome.

Intermediary neuron acts as synaptic cloaking device, says Carnegie Mellon study
Neuroscientists believe that the connectome, a map of each and every connection between the millions of neurons in the brain, will provide a blueprint that will allow them to link brain anatomy to brain function.

Why debunked autism treatment fads persist
The communication struggles of children with autism spectrum disorder can drive parents and educators to try anything to understand their thoughts, needs and wants. Unfortunately, specialists in psychology and communication disorders do not always communicate the latest science so well.

Cancer screening concerns
According to new research, adults in Ontario with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are significantly less likely to be screened for colorectal cancer than the general population.
More Autism Current Events and Autism News Articles

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...

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...

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...

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 Businessweek • 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...

Life Through His Eyes

Life Through His Eyes
by Virginia R. Victorio


Life is not always what we want it to be. Mauricio is struggling with a life he didn't choose for himself and is about to learn an amazing lesson from the person he loves the most - Short Story

101 Games and Activities for Children With Autism, Aspergerâs 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...

Autism: The Ultimate Parenting Handbook For Teaching An Autistic Child That Will Improve Their Life Forever (Special Needs, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Aspergrs, ... Breakthrough, Autism Books, ADHD, Children)

Autism: The Ultimate Parenting Handbook For Teaching An Autistic Child That Will Improve Their Life Forever (Special Needs, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Aspergrs, ... Breakthrough, Autism Books, ADHD, Children)


Do you want to know how to make life easier, simpler, and better for children affected with Autism Spectrum Disease using solid strategies and useful information?
If your children or someone you know is affected with Autism Spectrum Disease (ASD) you probably know that learning and development is a very big challenge. Also you may know that children diagnosed with ASD face difficulties in areas like communication, language, repetitive behavior, socialization, and restricted interests. For this reason it is extremely important that the family and caregivers (at home and school) have the appropriate education and knowledge to make life easier, simpler and better for these beloved children.

This guide contains the most important information you must know about ASD and...

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...

Autism Revealed: All you Need to Know about Autism, Autistic Children and Adults, How to Manage Autism, and More!

Autism Revealed: All you Need to Know about Autism, Autistic Children and Adults, How to Manage Autism, and More!


Autism Revealed
Today only, get this Amazon bestseller for just $2.99. Regularly priced
at $4.99. Read on your PC, Mac, smart phone, tablet or Kindle device.

Autism is an often misunderstood condition that affects many people today.
As you will soon discover, autism comes in varying degrees of severity, with different signs and symptoms being shown at each level. No two cases of autism are the same, and each person with the condition has unique signs, symptoms, and triggers of different behaviors.

This book explains the many different levels of autism, along with the possible causes, signs, and symptoms of each.
If you're a parent of an autistic child, how you care for that child will greatly affect their development as they grow to...

Carly's Voice: Breaking Through Autism

Carly's Voice: Breaking Through Autism
by Arthur Fleischmann (Author), Carly Fleischmann (Contributor)


In this international bestseller, father and advocate for Autism awareness Arthur Fleischmann blends his daughter Carly’s own words with his story of getting to know his remarkable daughter—after years of believing that she was unable to understand or communicate with him.

At the age of two, Carly Fleischmann was diagnosed with severe autism and an oral motor condition that prevented her from speaking. Doctors predicted that she would never intellectually develop beyond the abilities of a small child. Carly remained largely unreachable through the years. Then, at the age of ten, she had a breakthrough.

While working with her devoted therapists, Carly reached over to their laptop and typed “HELP TEETH HURT,” much to everyone’s astonishment. Although Carly still...

© 2015 BrightSurf.com