PTEN and Serotonin Transporters and Autism
The neurologists at MIT have been hard at work trying to unlock the genetic predisposition for Autism. Â In their trials, as reported in their article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), they found two genetic markers that can account for the social behavior and enlarged brains found in many children with autism (24 percent, in fact). Â The results were interesting. Â Their research focused primarily on female mice, and mice in general. Â It was discovered that the PTEN gene and Serotonin Transporters each have an effect on the brain, causing increased brain growth. Â Together, they have an accumulative effect, increasing brain size even more. Â There was also a correlation between social interaction and brain size identified, which reinforces the theory that increased brain size (and density) is related to autistic behavior. Â This is huge and comes at the right time when many parents who were led to believe their child was "given" autism by vaccinations, and that theory having been proven to be false based on several studies and the outing of fraudulent materials as the foundation for such a claim.But, before we get too excited, there are a couple of caveats to this study: Â It hasn't been conclusively proven that the same genes in humans have the same results. Â It also doesn't explain instances of autism-like behavior that doesn't appear to be related to brain size at all (see my previous statements on allergy autism). Â But it is a piece of the puzzle that has been discovered and matched. Â That's the important thing. Â I would hazard a prediction that all behavioral disorders will be linked eventually to genetic markers. Â So what do we take from all this? Â Progress is being made on the conditions needed for autistic behavior. Â Does this change the lives of those children with autism? Â It could, if it were proven to be a genetic condition that would need medical attention. Â It would then give medical insurance all the more reason to fund Autism treatment. Â But for now, we parents are still left to find the best way to help our children's brains work through and with their autism to become productive members of society. Â That means working with psychologists that are helpful and willing, finding a support group that is dedicated to assisting the parent, instead of suing industries, and locating materials that provide real assistance.