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Mutated gene raises autism risk, study finds

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mzteris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 09:18 AM
Original message
Mutated gene raises autism risk, study finds
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- U.S. researchers said Monday that they had identified a genetic mutation that raises the risk of autism and could also explain some of the other symptoms seen in children with autism.

Although autism and similar disorders can clearly run in families, theirs is the first study to find a definitive genetic link to the disorder, which affects as many as 1 in 175 U.S. children.

Dr. Pat Levitt and colleagues at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, studied 743 families in which 1,200 family members were affected by autism spectrum disorders, which range from fully disabling autism to Asperger's syndrome.

They found a single mutation in a gene called MET, which is known to be involved in brain development, regulation of the immune system and repair of the gastrointestinal system. All of these systems can be affected in children with autism.

-MORE-

http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/10/16/autism.genes.reut/...
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 09:20 AM
Response to Original message
1. This is great news
It could lead to better treatment or even a cure.
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noonwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #1
8. I agree
Even though the more pessimisstic don't see it that way.

If they found the gene that mutates, they can discover just how that mutation affects the brain of the autistic. Even if it doesn't result in a miracle pill to cure all autistics, it could lead to better applications of traditional treatments, especially for those autistics who (I hate to use this term) are "higher functioning".

Any knowledge in this area is useful.
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atommom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 09:53 AM
Response to Original message
2. I wonder whether this is a mutation that could be induced by pollutants
in our air, water, or food. Many chemicals can cause chromosomal damage. I hope this discovery leads to better treatments, and eventually to a cure.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 09:57 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. A genetic mutation probably rules out a cure
but perhaps it will help find a way to prevent future cases.
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 10:23 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. Unless it genetically mutates again
Which it will. Then we'll find a pill for that, and it'll mutate again. We'll find a pill for that, and it'll mutate again.
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. It's not like a virus
"it" doesn't mutate, people do. Possibly as a result of environmental stress.



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atommom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. If they can figure out what that gene codes for, we might be able
to alleviate its effects. It could be producing a bad protein, or a nonfunctional version of the protein it was supposed to produce. It's hard to say at this point.
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proud2BlibKansan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 12:03 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. I am leaning toward that theory myself
I really believe there must be an environmental trigger.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 09:59 AM
Response to Original message
4. Thank You For Posting This; I Really Appreciate The Info!
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bananas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-23-06 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
5. "This is a relatively common variant, seen in about 47 percent of the popu
Edited on Mon Oct-23-06 10:12 AM by bananas
From another news article about this:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=...

<snip>

People with two copies of this variant were 2.27 times as likely to have autism as the general population. Individuals with only one copy were also at higher risk (1.67 times) than those without the variant.

“This is a relatively common variant, seen in about 47 percent of the population,” Levitt said. “So why doesn't everybody have autism?”

<snip>
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