Brain synapses are the connections between neurons that enable them to communicate with each other.
In a new study published in Nature, Bear and his team have just discovered that tuberous sclerosis is caused by the opposite malfunction, i.e. too little synthesis of those synaptic proteins. Tuberous sclerosis is another rare disorder characterized by autism and mental retardation.
Mark Bear, Picower Professor of Neuroscience and a member of MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, says that although the findings may appear counterintuitive, they nevertheless apply to the theory that autism can be caused by a wide spectrum of brain-synapse glitches.
Tailor-made treatmentsAccording to Bear's discovery, not all cases of autism spectrum disorder will respond to the same kind of treatment. He says:
"This study identified one functional axis, and it will be important to know where a patient lies on this axis to devise the therapy that will be effective. "If you have a disorder of too little protein synthesis, you don't want to inhibit the neurotransmitter receptor that stimulates protein synthesis, and vice versa." More @ http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/238296.php