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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Scientific Advance

ABC News reports:

Researchers believe they have found some of the edge pieces in the jigsaw puzzle that is autism spectrum disorder.

A new study has found that duplicated and deleted pieces of DNA in a number of different genes play a role in the development of autism, said study co-author Rita M. Cantor, a professor of genetics and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Advocacy groups are optimistic that the findings could lead to new treatments for the disorder. A number of autism researchers said the discovery could one day lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment. Although some cautioned that it's too early to say how big a step forward the gene findings are, they clearly show the important role of genetics in autism.


"Discovery of the molecular pathophysiology will lead to biologically based treatments, which are especially needed for more severely affected individuals with autism spectrum disorder," said Dr. Nancy Minshew, another of the study's co-authors and professor of psychiatry and neurology at the University of Pittsburgh.