‘A new study is offering a clue into the origins of the disorder by finding a single dysfunctional protein may be responsible for coordinating expression in all the genes that result in autism susceptibility.’
I took that quote from an article on autism research published by New Atlas. I strongly recommend reading the entire article but the gist is that:
- Researchers have found hundreds of genes implicated in the Autism Disorder spectrum, not just one ‘master’ gene.
- These genes are like switches that can be turned on or off.
- While these genes are ‘off’, the person may have a tendency towards autism, but they will not be autistic – i.e. there will be no symptoms of autism.
- There is a protein called CPEB4 which ‘…is vital in embryonic development, assisting with neuroplasticity and helping regulate the expression of certain genes during fetal brain development.’ In other words, this is a good protein.
- In mouse models, not enough of this protein leads to brain structures and behaviours that are characteristic of autism. In other words, the lack of this protein causes those autism-related genes to be switched on and the result is Autism-like behaviour.
Now, mouse models are just an approximation of the human condition, but they do lend support to the idea that autism is not just a genetic condition/disorder. Instead, it may well be a case of environment acting on an underlying pre-disposition. And if that is the case, then maybe one day we’ll be able to keep those Autism related genes switched off.
Have a great weekend,
Okay, the liquid water is beneath 1.5 km of solid ice at the South Pole, but it is there!
It’s also incredibly salty [one reason why it isn’t frozen], but its discovery opens up huge new areas of research because it means that Mars really was much wetter in the past. I’m no geologist or climatologist, but I can’t help wondering what happened to Mars to turn it into the barren rock it is now. If there’s any chance that our own Earth can go the same way, we need to know.
Please visit the New Atlas website to read the whole story.
And finally, from me, an apology. I’m racing a July 31 deadline so this blog, and social media in general, have taken a huge back seat. I’ll be more sociable again once I. Get.This. Job. Done!
I don’t usually wear sunglasses, but I’d definitely wear these:
The frames are standard, but the lenses collect solar energy which is transferred to the electronic gadgetry hidden in the arms. That gadgetry could be enough to power small wearables such as hearing aids. For me though, the most exciting part is this:
‘Organic solar cells were chosen instead of more traditional silicon cells because they’re transparent, flexible, lightweight, and can be manufactured in a variety of shapes and colors. Each solar cell lens weighs about six grams, is 1.6 mm thick, and was made to fit into a set of commercially-produced sunglass frames.’
The blue highlights are mine, and they’re exciting because the same cells could also, in time, be used on windows. Imagine how much energy could be harvested if windows became solar panels as well as roofs? And think of all those huge skyscrapers – perfect realestate for solar farms. 🙂
You can read the complete article on NewAtlas. Just follow the link below:
Happy Friday 🙂