Autism is a disorder that has been shown to be increasing in children in the US. It is hard to pinpoint exact causes or determining factors for children who have autism and to what degree autism will present. Current concerns and conversations typically revolve around the impact of vaccines on autism development. Still, there are other factors that are constantly being discovered.
Recent studies have shown two genetic variations to have converged and now cause the same changes in both nerve function and behavior. This is new to the properties of Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD, compared to what scientists have previously seen occur.
Search is on for Dopamine-Disrupting Molecule Network
The study that discovered this, at Vanderbilt University, is leading to the effort to create a mouse model to reinforce these findings and allow further exploration. The search is on for a network of molecules that disrupt the neuro-transmission of dopamine. This is not typical, as it requires the network to converge with the same mechanism while disrupting the dopamine in different ways.
Dopamine is typically involved in reward behaviors, like a change in appetite, social behaviors and even the onset of an addiction. Usually, a dopamine transporter grabs up any excess dopamine near the synapse. However, in the case of a child with autism, the transporter actually works in reverse, causing more dopamine to pile up in the synapse. In the two families where the case has been found where the transporter is acting contrary to its normal behavior, variations have been found both in the transporter gene and in the genes for a protein that regulates the dopamine transporter.
Scientists Compare Locomotion to Dopamine Use in Body
Scientists say the reward behaviors that are connected to dopamine do not move forward without the dopamine, similar to when locomotion is required to do many things, like obtain food or move in any direction. Commonly a lack of dopamine or anatomy locomotion can be found in those who use their vehicles often, those in a marketing career or worst yet vehicle marketing.
With this study, scientists can begin determine the reasoning these two ASD genetics are having the same effects. Hopefully from this basis, further understanding can come and possibly a determination of more factors that result in autism diagnoses.