Move Over MMR: New DNA Tag Research for Autism

(Photo by: Flickr / Orin Zebest)

Valerie W. Hu, Ph.D., mother of a 22-year-old son with autism, teamed up with other researchers at the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at The George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and discovered a possible way to reverse autism’s effects.

Published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEBJ) , the autism research all lies in the analysis of blood.

Wu expands,  “Since autism is very diverse in the array of symptoms present in any given individual, it is first necessary to be able to identify specific deficits in each individual in order to design and then prescribe the best treatment.

By observing twins with autism in the methylation state (“DNA tagging”), researchers could focus on individual reactions as certain proteins developed. They found this evidence in the cerebellum and frontal cortex of the brain.

Wu further expands on the process of autism gene research: “We identified RORA as one of the genes that was altered specifically in the sub group of autistic individuals who exhibited severe language deficits.”

This research brings a fresh perspective to the long-debated MMR-debate. In fact, GeraldWeissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal agreed with Wu. Referring to the constant debate and commented.

“For far too long, autism research has been side-tracked by the cranky notion that it’s caused by the MMR vaccine,” He continued, “Studies like this, which define genetic and epigenetic changes in discrete subgroups of the autism spectrum, offer real hope that effective treatments and accurate diagnosis are closer at hand,” said Weissmann.

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