Saturday, October 08, 2005

Autism Spectrum Disorder cure near?

New Jersey scientists are reporting discoveries they say might lead to cures for such psychiatric disorders as autism and schizophrenia.

Scientists at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, say they've discovered information regarding the genetic, cellular and neurological bases of those diseases.
Using data drawn from the Rutgers Cell and DNA Repository, professors James Millonig and Linda Brzustowicz, assisted by professor Emanuel DiCicco-Bloom, led a team that further substantiated the link between autism and Engrailed 2, or EN2, a gene important in central nervous system development.
EN2 is involved with the cerebellum, the part of the brain that governs movement and, to some extent, language and speech. A change in EN2 could potentially produce symptoms of autism, the scientists said.
The research is presented in the November issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics.
A second team led by Brustowicz and Bonnie Firestein, an assistant Rutgers professor of cell biology and neuroscience, implicated a gene called CAPON in schizophrenia.
A report of their research is available in the online journal PLoS Medicine.