Relatively we have already talked about a study which stated that autistic children “they think more”, that is his introspection and social isolation from everything around them occur because your brain generates more information than normal. But it seems now that all this has explanation, because according to scientists from the University of Columbia (New York), and his recent research published in the journal Neuron, an autistic brain would have a ‘core error’ in its evolution during childhood.
A too connected brain
According to the researchers, individuals with autism have too many synapses in his brain, i.e. its neurons are more connected than normal. This condition would be due to a bug in the “pruning” that occurs in childhood, and that implies that we have only to think normal communications. All excesses are bad, even if it is to have a more “connected” brain. For their research, these scientists were able to restore this “synaptic pruning” in mice, thus reducing your symptoms of autism. It did thanks to a drug called rapamycin, a drug used to suppress the immune after a transplant system (so that the organism that receives the organ does not “attack” and can unite normally). This drug is able to reduce the brain synapses, but other side effects would make it unviable as a possible treatment for autism, so it has been used to research, but nothing more.
The evolution of the brain in Autism
During normal development, our brain develops a lot of synapses or brain communication, especially in the cerebral cortex. Subsequently, occurs a “pruning”, where half of these communications was eliminating until adolescence, has just been molding the brain with the passage of the years. However, in autism, seems to be a series of genes related to the synapses, so its role in disease is already shuffled long ago. Knowing this, scientists at Columbia University examined the brains of 26 children and young people with autism from 2 to 20 years who had died for various reasons. In the final stage of childhood, the researchers detected that synaptic spinal density had been reduced by half in the brains of healthy, but just 16% in the brains of autistic individuals. That is, that the amount of an autistic brain connections was much higher than for a healthy brain.
So David Sulzer, principal investigator of the study said it: “It is the first time that anyone has shown that lack of pruning during childhood development is related to autism, a factor that also has been detected in brains of elderly patients, and in mice with behaviors similar to Autism”
For the part the whole experiment with mice, would be the problem with this pruning of synapses the protein mTOR, whose over-activation cause you could not break the brain synapses more, thus avoiding the natural pruning of the brain. This protein is also found in large quantities in the brains of autistic children. Finally, as I said at the beginning, rapamycin (sirolimus) can prevent over activation of mTOR pathway even in stages advanced autism (at least in mice), so that on this basis the Autism might be treatable. However, the side effects of the drug are intolerable, and even much research will be needed to develop a safe and effective medication. All this taking into account confirmation of this research with new studies on the subject, clear.