Thursday, October 22, 2009

Epigenetic cause for autism?

Or, Oxytocin is involved in everything, from knowing when to give birth to bonding with kids and strangers.
In both blood samples and brain tissue, the methylation status of specific nucleotides in the oxytocin receptor gene is significantly higher in someone with autism, about 70 percent, compared to the control population, where it is about 40 percent. ...
Oxytocin is a hormone secreted into the bloodstream from the brain, and also released within the brain, where it has a bearing on social interaction. Previous studies have shown that giving oxytocin can improve an autistic person's social engagement behavior and it is being explored as a potential treatment of the disorder. Higher methylation of the oxytocin receptor gene may make a person less sensitive to the hormone.
This suggests an area to search for a treatment. Of course, the point of the article is they know that and are searching there.

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