Sunday, December 18, 2016

Autism is partially explained as shortage of protein nSR100

Autism, or autistic disorder, is a mental disorder diagnosed mainly in early childhood. People with autism have difficulties to deal with other people. They often sense external stimuli differently, and many of them are not good at being empathetic to others' emotion. In adulthood, most patients learn how to collaborate with other people although symptoms are continuous. But secondary symptoms such as depression, emotion dysregulation, and aggressive behaviors emerge in some patients.

The prevalence rate of autism is reported to have increased, according to latest studies. But, the cause of autism has yet to be clarified. It is well accepted that autism is not a particular disease. Also, autism is a spectrum between who have normally grown up to those with explicit impairment of social cognitive fuction.

Recently, researchers suggested a possibility that a particular protein is responsible for the onset of autism. It is called nSR100. Researchers observed that reduced level of nSR100 in mice made their behavior autistic. This result shows the causal relationship between lack of nSR100 and autistic symptoms.

Independent: Cause of one third of all autism cases may have been discovered by scientists

Unfortunately, I cannot read the full article now. So, I cannot examine the validity of the conclusion in this article. Regardless of the internal validity of this study, it should be cautious to adapt the result to human. Animal models of mental disorders are so vulnerable that the result of a clinical trial is often inconsistent with the experiment with animals.

Molecular Cell: Misregulation of an Activity-Dependent Splicing Network as a Common Mechanism Underlying Autism Spectrum Disorders

If the result is trustworthy, it will bring two benefits. First, we can say autism, or at least some types of autism, is a brain disease. So far many parents were blamed that they were responsible for autism occurred in their child.

Second, it is possible for autistic patients to improve their social skills with nSR100 protein. Previously, there are no medicines proven to be beneficial to autistic patients. We can try a new protein replenishment therapy to cure some autistic symptoms. It may be innovative.

It is obvious that autism can be explained by a single factor. The combination of the studies is needed for deeper understanding autism.

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