Scientists find clue to why some autistics avoid hugs
London: Scientists have found a clue in
brain that may explain why people suffering from fragile X
syndrome, a condition linked to autism, do not like hugs even
from their parents.
Researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of
Medicine have claimed to have discovered delayed development
of the sensory cortex, the part of the brain that responds to
touch, in the mice with fragile X syndrome.
Reporting their findings in journal Neuron, they said
their study could help explain why people with the condition
are hypersensitive to physical contact. It also points to key
stages when treatment could be most effective, they said.
Fragile X syndrome is caused by a mutant gene in the X
chromosome that interferes in the production of a protein
called fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP).
Under normal circumstances, the protein directs the
formation of other proteins that build synapses in the brain,
the BBC reported.
For their study, the researchers recorded electrical
signals in the brains of mice, bred to mimic the condition.
They found connections in the sensory cortex in the
brain were late to mature, which may cause further problems
with the correct wiring of the brain.
The study also found these changes in the brain`s
connections occur much earlier than previously thought, midway
through a baby`s development in the womb.
First Published: Friday, February 12, 2010, 00:00
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