Findings of a Study Might Help in Development of Better Drugs for Autism

Findings of a Study Might Help in Development of Better Drugs for AutismIn a study conducted by the researchers of Duke University in North Carolina, a single gene named shank3 was muted in mice which led to the development of two of the most common traits. Scientists believe that this breakthrough finding will surely help in the development of drugs to treat autism.

The researchers at Duke University and the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology believe that when they muted this gene, it led to compulsive repetitive behavior and avoidance of social interaction in the mice and they opine that this was caused by impaired communication between brain cells.

Senior author Guoping Feng, a Professor of brain and cognitive sciences at MIT, said, “Now we have a very robust model with a known cause for autistic-like behaviors. We can figure out the neural circuits responsible for these behaviors, which could lead to novel targets for treatment”.

Very few people with autism are believed to have mutations in Shank3 but Dr. Feng is of belief that many other cases might be linked to disruptions to other proteins that control synaptic function.

Carol Povey, Director of the National Autistic Society's Centre for Autism, said that these kinds of researches would help to develop a better understanding of genetics and their influence on behavior.