Scientists are one step closer to solving the mystery of autism, after discovering 37 new genes associated with this disorder and related conditions such as Asperger’s Syndrome, which affects children.
Although autism spectrum disorder affects many children around the world, it is still an unknown condition, and its diagnosis can be long and stressful.
Families are often forced to attend multiple appointments at the hospital and have children undergo several psychological tests, and there is no effective drug to treat this condition yet, as patients only receive medicines to control some symptoms such as aggression or hyperactivity.
But the new scientific breakthrough may open the door to new tests and treatments, as an international team of researchers collected and analyzed more than 35,000 DNA samples for autistic patients in 50 hospitals around the world, in a study of the largest ever.
Researchers at the Mount Sinai Health System Center, in the United States, have identified 102 genetic mutations that affect brain development or functions, all of which can lead to autism.
Professor Joseph Boxboom, director of the Mount Sinai Health System Center, said new drugs will be developed based on the results published in the journal Cell.
Professor Boxboom, a world-renowned psychiatrist, added: “This is a historical study, whether in terms of sample size or the large international collaborative efforts you need.”
He continued: “With these genes identified, we can begin to understand the brain changes underlying the autism spectrum disorder, and start thinking about new treatments.”
It is noteworthy that many people with autism spectrum disorder can live a relatively normal life while others need support all the time, and people with this disorder often face difficulty in socializing with others.
The discovery of many genes that play a role in the disease may help explain why this disorder appears differently in individuals.
Source: Daily Mail