The researchers believed this drop-off might explain why many people with ASD often report sensory hypersensitivity.
The team also found significant evidence that the genetic risk for ASD is heightened in a fixed neuronal module which has a lower gene expression across the brain. In other words, this discovery indicates that brain RNA changes are more likely the actual cause of ASD as opposed to a result of ASD.
“We now finally are beginning to get a picture of the state of the brain, at the molecular level, in individuals who had a diagnosis of autism,” Geschwind explained.
“This provides us with a molecular pathology which– similar to other brain disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and stroke– provides a key starting point for understanding the disorder’s mechanisms that will inform and accelerate the development of disease-altering therapies.”
Now, the researchers’ next step is ascertaining whether or not computational approaches based on reserving gene expression changes can be used to develop new therapies.
To read the study’s complete findings, which have since been published in Nature, visit the link here.
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