Psychology & Psychiatry

Drug may reverse imbalance linked to autism symptoms

An FDA-approved drug can reverse an ionic imbalance in neurons that leads to hyper-excitability in mice modeling an autism-related genetic disorder, according to a Northwestern Medicine study published in Molecular Psychiatry.

Autism spectrum disorders

Autism linked to egg cells' difficulty creating large proteins

New work from Carnegie's Ethan Greenblatt and Allan Spradling reveals that the genetic factors underlying fragile X syndrome, and potentially other autism-related disorders, stem from defects in the cell's ability to create ...

Neuroscience

Scientists reverse a sensory impairment in mice with autism

Using a genetic technique that allows certain neurons in the brain to be switched on or off, UCLA scientists reversed a sensory impairment in mice with symptoms of autism, enabling them to learn a sensory task as quickly ...

Neuroscience

Back to (brain) basics

(PhysOrg.com) -- In his own words, MIT neuroscientist Mark Bear admits he did not "wake up one day and say 'Hey, I'm going to cure autism.'" But, after decades of painstaking basic research on how the brain rewires itself ...

Neuroscience

New clue why autistic people don't want hugs

Why do people with fragile X syndrome, a genetic defect that is the best-known cause of autism and inherited mental retardation, recoil from hugs and physical touch - even from their parents?

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Fragile X syndrome

Fragile X syndrome, or Martin-Bell syndrome, is a genetic syndrome which results in a spectrum of characteristic physical, intellectual, emotional and behavioural features which range from severe to mild in manifestation.

The syndrome is associated with the expansion of a single trinucleotide gene sequence (CGG) on the X chromosome, and results in a failure to express the FMR1 protein which is required for normal neural development. There are four generally accepted forms of Fragile X syndrome which relate to the length of the repeated CGG sequence; Normal (29-31 CGG repeats), Premutation (55-200 CGG repeats), Full Mutation (more than 200 CGG repeats), and Intermediate or Gray Zone Alleles (40 - 60 repeats).

Martin and Bell in 1943, described a pedigree of X-linked mental disability, without considering the macroorchidism (larger testicles). In 1969 Chris and Weesam first sighted an unusual "marker X chromosome" in association with mental disability. In 1970 Frederick Hecht coined the term "fragile site".

Renpenning's syndrome is not synonymous with the syndrome. In Renpenning's syndrome, there is no fragile site on the X chromosome. Renpenning's cases have short stature, moderate microcephaly, and neurological (brain) disorders.

Escalante's syndrome is synonymous with the fragile X syndrome. This term has been used in Brazil and other South American countries.

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