Disorder of Neuronal Circuits in Autism Is Reversible
People with autism suffer from a pervasive developmental disorder of the brain that becomes evident in early childhood. Researchers Peter Scheiffele and Kaspar Vogt have identified a specific dysfunction in neuronal circuits that is caused by autism. In the journal Science, the scientists also report about their success in reversing these neuronal changes. These findings are an important step in drug development for the treatment for autism.
According to current estimates, about 1% of all children develop an autistic spectrum disorder. Individuals with autism may exhibit impaired social behavior, rigid patterns of behavior and limited speech development. Autism is a hereditary developmental disorder of the brain. A central risk factor for the development of autism are numerous mutations in over 300 genes that have been identified, including the gene neuroligin-3, which is involved in the formation of synapses, the contact junction between nerve cells.