• All Share : 49722.88
    UNCHANGED0.00%
    Top 40 : 3828.52
    UNCHANGED0.00%
    Financial 15 : 15178.82
    UNCHANGED0.00%
    Industrial 25 : 60698.41
    UNCHANGED0.00%

  • ZAR/USD : 11.0395
    UP 1.57%
    ZAR/GBP : 17.6597
    UP 1.59%
    ZAR/EUR : 13.8264
    UP 0.92%
    ZAR/JPY : 0.0983
    UP 0.23%
    ZAR/AUD : 9.7126
    UP 0.23%

  • Gold : 1172.8500
    UP 0.03%
    Platinum : 1231.0000
    UP 0.33%
    Silver : 16.1550
    UP 0.16%
    Palladium : 792.5000
    UP 0.57%
    Brent Crude Oil : 85.860
    UNCHANGED0.00%

  • All data is delayed by 15 min. Data supplied by I-Net Bridge
    Hover cursor over this ticker to pause.

Sat Nov 01 07:24:20 SAST 2014

Brain protein mutation linked to autism: research

AFP Relaxnews | 09 November, 2012 09:15
Brain image
Image by: SUPPLIED

Researchers said on Thursday they had discovered a genetic mutation in people with autism that cuts communication between brain cells to about one-tenth of normal levels.

The study found a protein which helps brain cells transfer data through neurological pathways called synapses was mutated in autism sufferers, offering a likely explanation for their cognitive and behavioural difficulties.

Principal investigator Johanna Montgomery, from Auckland University's Centre for Brain Research, said the mutated protein, called Shank3, provided exciting possibilities in the search for autism treatments.

"(A treatment) is years away," she told AFP. "But we now know how it works, we know what goes wrong, so let's try to figure out a way to fix it.

"Now we've got a focus for how we actually rescue this protein, to make it work appropriately again so that brain cells can communicate at the right levels."

The two-year study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, was carried out by the Centre for Brain Research and Stanford University in the United States.

Montgomery said researchers were beginning to understand the complex factors behind so-called autism spectrum disorders (ASD), which typically result in learning difficulties, lack of socialisation and repetitive behaviours.

She said the condition was becoming more prevalent, partly due to more efficient diagnosis, with studies estimating it affects about one-in-82 children.

SHARE YOUR OPINION

If you have an opinion you would like to share on this article, please send us an e-mail to the Times LIVE iLIVE team. In the mean time, click here to view the Times LIVE iLIVE section.