Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Autism Spectrum Disorder reversed in mice

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 26 (UPI) -- U.S. medical scientists have reversed symptoms of mental retardation and autism in mice.
Researchers at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said the mice were genetically manipulated to model Fragile X Syndrome, the leading inherited cause of mental retardation and the most common genetic cause of autism. The condition causes mild learning disabilities to severe autism, with no effective treatment yet developed.
"Our study suggests that inhibiting a certain enzyme in the brain could be an effective therapy for countering the debilitating symptoms of FXS in children and possibly in autistic kids as well," said co-author Mansuo Hayashi, a former Picower postdoctoral fellow currently at Merck Research Laboratories in Boston.
The research is reported in the online early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Copyright 2007 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.