web analytics
July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



New Autism Theory Inspires Hope For Future Cure


      Distant mothers. MMR vaccines. Genetic mutations. Contaminated drinking water. These are just a few of the many factors that scientists and doctors have attributed to the cause of autism throughout the last 50 years, since autism was first established as a separate diagnosis in the late 1960′s. In recent years the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in American children has risen to one in every one 150. Yet, despite these attempts none have proved successful in isolating a definite cause. In fact, from diagnosis to treatments, autism research is rife with uncertainties and trial-and-error theories, many of which have thus far been disproved and fallen to the proverbial wayside.

 

      Unfortunately, without a definite cause, the hope to cure autism is also hampered. While there is no known cure for autism, those diagnosed have the option of undergoing treatments that, at best, lessen the deficits associated with autism and improve the quality of life and functional independence. While the goal of these therapies is to correct the developmental disability that mostly affects a person with autism – the ability to communicate and interact with others socially – the key to completely eradicating the presence of autism altogether is in determining its origins.

 

      Attempting just that, research scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Yeshiva University) have proposed a new theory focusing on the neurological make-up of people with autism that could lead to groundbreaking changes in the treatment and overall knowledge of autism. The theory – co-authored by Dr. Mark F. Mehler, M.D., chairman of neurology and director of the Institute for Brain Disorders and Neural Regeneration at Einstein, and Dr. Dominick P. Purpura, M.D., dean emeritus and professor of neuroscience at Einstein – arose from an observational study of autistic children that illuminated a recurring phenomenon. The researchers noticed that during bouts of fever, children with the disorder displayed a behavioral improvement that suddenly reverts once the fever subsides. This observation has led the proposal that the brain of an individual with autism is normal, but “dysregulated,” and the symptoms can therefore be reversed.

 

      The theory pinpoints the locus coeruleus-noradrenergic (LC-NA) system as the part of the brain that is involved in causing autism. “The LC-NA system is the only brain system involved both in producing fever and controlling behavior,” Purpura said.

 

      The locus coeruleus-noradrenergic, a Latin name literally defined as ‘blue spot’ due to its shading, plays a key role in our concentration and focusing attention, skills that those with autism have great difficulty cultivating. Additionally, the LC-NA activates other areas of the brain related to complex cognitive tasks. In an autistic child, according to Mehler and Purpura, it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors (particularly stress while the fetus is in the later stages of development, a time that renders the fetal brain especially sensitive to disturbances) that causes the dysregulation in this area of the brain.

 

      Support for this theory came from a 2008 study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders that found a higher frequency of autism in children whose mothers were exposed to hurricanes during pregnancy. Fever activates the locus coeruleus, and the stimulation allows it to do its job, regulating reactions and centering attention. The fundamental element to this finding is that fever allows the autistic child to behave normally, “This could not happen if autism was caused by a lesion or some structural abnormality of the brain,” Purpura said.

 

      “If the locus coeruleus is impaired in autism, it is probably because tens or hundreds, maybe even thousands, of genes are dysregulated in subtle and complex ways,” Mehler said. “The only way you can reverse this process is with epigenetic therapies, which, we are beginning to learn, have the ability to coordinate very large integrated gene networks.”

 

      Epigenetics refers to gene changes that occur that have been hypothesized to be passed from parent to fetus. Epigenetics has largely been associated with diseases, and epigenetic theory seeks to correct these gene changes.

 

      The central theorists warn that this advance is no sudden cure to autism, a disease which has baffled the medical field for some time; it is, however, a door opening into better understanding autism and finding more effective treatment.

 

      Mehler and Purpura’s publication on their theory, entitled “utism, fever, epigenetics and the locus coeruleus” was featured in the March issue of the journal Brain Research Reviews.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “New Autism Theory Inspires Hope For Future Cure”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Bibi: ‘Death From Above, Death From Below’ Will Not Continue
Latest Sections Stories
Teens-Twenties-logo

What Hashem desires most is that we learn to connect with each other as children in the same family.

Jerusalem to Jericho Road: photograph by Chanan Getraide
“Chanan Getraide Photographs”: 2004 exhibition at Hebrew Union College Museum

“We are living in a Golden Age of Jewish Art, but don’t know it.”

Respler-072514

The real solution to bullying is to empower the bullied child.

Time outs increases compliance and positive behavior far more than other forms of discipline

Interestingly, sometimes people who have a very high self-awareness may experience intense reactions to circumstances that others might respond to more mildly.

“You Touro graduates are automatically soldiers in [Israel’s] struggle, and we count on you,” Rothstein told the graduates.

The lemonana was something else. Never had we seen a green drink look so enticing.

On his marriage, he wrote: “This is what I believe: something of the core, of the essence of this meaningful and life-affirming Judaism will not be absent from our home” (1882).

With the recent kidnapping by the Hamas and the barbaric murder of three children – Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frankel, we believe that the best answer to honor the memory of those murdered is to continue building those very communities – large and small – that our enemies are trying to destroy.

Written entirely through Frayda’s eyes, the reader is drawn by her unassuming personality.

Adopting an ancient exegetical approach that is based on midrashic readings of the text, thematic connections that span between various books of the Bible are revealed.

While Lipman comes from an ultra-Orthodox background and is an Orthodox rabbi, he offers a breath of fresh air when he suggests that “polarization caused by extremism and isolationism in the religious community may be the greatest internal threat to the future of the Jewish people”

More Articles from Jasmine Weg

The scenario repeats itself over and over. You read a job listing and with each qualification they desire you become increasingly more excited – this one is in the bag. So you send off your resume and wait with hopeful anticipation that quickly morphs into self-doubting anxiety when that response fails to come. At times it may feel like your resume just sinks to the bottom of a never-ending pile, regardless of how perfect you are for the position. In actuality, however, your resume might not have even made it through the computerized screening process employers utilize, never reaching human eyes. And if it has, it may be one wrong word that landed yours in the recycle bin.

Distant mothers. MMR vaccines. Genetic mutations. Contaminated drinking water. These are just a few of the many factors that scientists and doctors have attributed to the cause of autism throughout the last 50 years, since autism was first established as a separate diagnosis in the late 1960′s. In recent years the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in American children has risen to one in every one 150. Yet, despite these attempts none have proved successful in isolating a definite cause. In fact, from diagnosis to treatments, autism research is rife with uncertainties and trial-and-error theories, many of which have thus far been disproved and fallen to the proverbial wayside.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/features/new-autism-theory-inspires-hope-for-future-cure/2009/08/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: