An amazing new discovery about autism is making waves in the medical community.
Scientists at Harvard and MIT have just made an amazing new discovery on autism that could have huge implications in the medical world.
For the first time, they’ve identified a link between the neurotransmitter GABA and symptoms of autism, which could result in new treatments and methods for diagnosing the disorder, according to a Huffington Post report.
In a statement, study lead author Caroline Robertson of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research said: “This is the first connection in humans between a neurotransmitter in the brain and an autistic behavioral symptom.”
GABA neurotransmitters work by inhibiting brain cells from responding to the external environment, so figuring out how to shut down or filter out those signals could be key to future treatments of autism. In fact, scientists think that a lack of GABA inhibition may be the cause of the hypersensitivity seen in those with autism.
Autistic individuals struggle with tuning out distracting sensations, making them feel overwhelmed in situations that most people would not feel bothered by. Something as simple as an ambient noise would be ignored by those who don’t have autism but would cause a great deal of stress in those who do.
For the study, scientists examined a group of subjects to do a visual task using brain inhibition. Those with autism were able to switch back and forth half as much as those who did not have autism, and weren’t able to suppress certain images as much
The research could have exciting implications for those who suffer from autism. It could result in new drugs that would target GABA pathways, and it could allow physicians to diagnose the condition earlier by examining GABA activity in early screenings.
The findings were published in the journal Current Biology.