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Italian researcher made progress in autism study

September 25, 2012 (TSR) – After three years of research, a team led by an Italian medical researcher has made a promising development that could bring a new perspective to find a cure for autism, local media on Tuesday.

The discovery was conducted by Genoa’s Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, where Daniele Piomelli, an anatomy and neurobiology professor of University of California at Irvine, holds a position.

The Fragile X Syndrome is the most common known genetic cause of autism due to a problem with the X chromosome. Children born with Fragile X Syndrome fail to produce a protein called the Fragile X Mental Retardation Protein (FMRP), which is indispensable for normal neural development.

By studying the role of FMRP protein in neural function using the genetically modified mice, Piomelli and his team reported that they had found a molecule that stimulates a “corrective” action in the brain of genetically modified mice carrying Fragile X Syndrome. The molecule appears to normalize neural functioning.

“These results are important because they demonstrate the existence of molecules capable of normalizing the effects of the disease on behavior. Unfortunately, this does not mean that we have a cure yet for autism, but that we have discovered a promising path for orienting pharmacological research,” Piomelli said.

According to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of U.S., the autism affects 1 child in 88 in the U.S., while the incidence in Italy was recorded 0.01 percent, according a report in 2006.

Source: Xinhua

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