Reversing Autism?

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Roughly 1% of all children develop autism.  Autism unfortunately is a brain disorder that cause significant issues such as impaired behavior and limited speech development.  I myself have two family members that unfortunately have the disease.  Since this issue affects so many children much research is being done to either stop or reverse the disorder.  In Science, two professors from the University of Basel have published their results on identifying "specific dysfunction in neuronal circuits that is caused by autism", and in addition their "success in reversing these neuronal changes" (Science Daily).  Thee two scientist, Peter Scheiffele and Kaspar Vogt, discovered was that one of the 300 gene mutations which are risk factors for Autism is the gene Neuroligin-3.  They observed mice lacking this gene which exhibited Autism traits and when reactivating the production of Neuroligin-3 saw the Autism traits reverse.

This type of research has the potential to be vital in ending Autism.  The ability to not only stop but reverse Autism could change the lives of million of children and adults.  This research started as observational study of mice, but has evolved into an experimental study by having them produce the Neugoligin-3. 

Ater doing some more research about this topic it is still unclear whether the neural circuit identified is directly leading to Autism or it is just a result of this.  Determining this could be instrumental in having this research lead to a cure for Autism.  

If you would like to take a look at the article and read more about this on your own please click here

"Synaptic networks in brains of rodent models of autism". (Credit: Stephane Baudouin)

1 Comment

Though this is an amazing step in the scientific and genetic world, I am not sure I am completely in support of the reverse genes. I used to volunteer at an organization with kids who have autism and down syndrome and I see nothing wrong with the people they are. Now, I know there are extreme cases in which people cannot speak or see and in those cases I think this is a great way to help them live normally. For the people with autism who can speak and interact with others, I don't see their disease as a set back. Their mind-sets are completely different than those of normal people. They have the gift of seeing the good of this world and everyone in it. If their disease was reversed, who knows if this would change their innocent and joyful outlooks of life. I feel autistic people are some of the few people who can spread happiness and change others for the better. Do you think a world without autism would be a better one?

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