A new study conducted by John Hopkins and University of Alabama at Birmingham revealed that brains of the people with autism share a common pattern of inflammation from an overactive immune. The researchers analyzed data from autopsied brains of 72 people, 32 out of them had autism. The data revealed that brains of people with autism have permanently active genes for inflammation in certain cells. The study was published on 10 December in the online journal Nature Communications.
"There are many different ways of getting autism, but we found that they all have the same downstream effect," said Dan Arking, Ph.D., an associate professor in the McKusick-Nathans Institute for Genetic Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said in a statement. He further added "What we don't know is whether this immune response is making things better in the short term and worse in the long term."
Inflammation is the consequence of a gene mutation. In order to understand the effects of the inflammation, the researchers will want to find out if treating it would provide any relief in the symptoms of autism. Autism is the most severe of a range of neurological and developmental disorders classified as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Difficultly in social interactions, such as discomfort with eye contact and trouble interpreting social cues is the most common symptom of the disease.
Researchers believe that along with certain genes and areas of the brain associated with the disorder, environment also plays a role in causing autism. According to an associate professor of neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who was also the part of the study this type of inflammation is not well understood. He also stated that the current findings highlight how much we don't know about the way our immune systems affect brain activity.
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