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Genetic Clue to Why Autism Affects Boys More

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posted on May, 20 2009 @ 11:13 AM
As they unwind more and more about the root causes of autism hope grows that they can begin to figure out how to prevent or mitigate its effects. its a beginning that researchers can build on. Its a wonder with all the new data, and the fact that the researcher who first 'found the link to autism admitting he falsified his data that people still cling to the "vaccines cause it" myth

Among the many mysteries that befuddle autism researchers: why the disorder affects boys four times more often than girls. But in new findings reported online today by the journal Molecular Psychiatry, researchers say they have found a genetic clue that may help explain the disparity.

The newly discovered autism-risk gene, identified by authors as CACNA1G, is more common in boys than in girls (why that's so is still not clear), and the authors suggest it plays a role in boys' increased risk of the developmental disorder. CACNA1G, which sits on chromosome 17, amid other genes that have been previously linked to autism, is responsible for regulating the flow of calcium into and out of cells. Nerve cells in the brain rely on calcium to become activated, and research suggests that imbalances in the mineral can result in the overstimulation of neural connections and create developmental problems, such as autism and even epilepsy, which is also a common feature of autism. (See six tips for traveling with an autistic child.)

"Our current theories about autism suggest that the disorder is related to overexcitability at nerve endings," says Geri Dawson, chief science officer of Autism Speaks, an advocacy group that provided the genetic data used by the study's authors. "It's interesting to see that the gene they identified appears to modulate excitability of neurons."

posted on May, 20 2009 @ 11:54 AM
This is a truly fascinating development. My first impression after just reading your quote is that if this is in fact correct there might be potential for preventative intervention.

Just working off the top of my head such children generally develop normally for a very extended period, then rather suddenly their developmental progress is superseded by regression. If it is a matter of a chemical imbalance and this could be picked up sufficiently early, perhaps preventative measures could one day be developed.

I may be way off beam here, but I felt the need to at least voice the hope. Up to now the received wisdom is that ASD is simply a developmental disorder that is by its very nature a life-long condition. Even a chink of hope that early intervention - or dare I say it, post-onset therapeutic intervention - might some day become a reality would equate to a total paradigm shift.

Thanks for posting this FredT!

posted on May, 20 2009 @ 01:23 PM
If this is true, it hardly comes as a surprise. Genetics plays a huge role in humanity. Why else do some people smoke until 90 and they are still alive?

The only way to fix this problem is gene therapy. I hope people don't jump on the unethical train. I stopped short of "desinger babies." But isn't it time the 1st world stopped thinking in terms of "God's plan" and started taking action to help individuals who have these defects?

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