nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Friday, June 11, 2010

Quick Update On Autism: Genetic Components

New DNA study shows gene abnormalities common to children with autism, also present in some parents.

This tragic disorder has been plagued by political activism that has impeded research into the actual causes.  Parents have desperately sought to find an external cause that would deflect any explanation that involves familial tendencies based in genetics.

This study of 996 children with autism spectrum disorder and their parents compared to 1,000 matched controls without the disorder showed an increased incidence of a pattern of gene deletions and duplications, as described by the LA Times Booster Shots blog (June 10):
"Such repeats or deletions were found 20% more often in the autism group -- some of them situated at genes that, therefore, may be involved in the condition. The implicated genes appear to be involved in functions such as nerve connections and nerve growth, and others had been implicated in learning disabilities.  In some cases, the parents also had these little duplications or deletions, implying inheritance. In other cases, the kids had them but the parents did not, implying, perhaps, that they had developed in sperm or eggs that gave rise to the children."
This isn't the final story on autism, just an integral component of a complex disorder.

The search for the other components won't be easy.  Everything from foods, vaccines, environmental toxins and the kitchen sink has been studied without result.

So, this is just a baby step forward in understanding this tragic disorder of cognition.

Doc D

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