Autism and cerebral palsy, two seemingly different disorders were recently found to share a common genetic signal. Autism is a developmental disorder which impairs a person’s ability of communication and interaction. There are different types of autism possible due to differences in environmental and genetic combinations. Estimates say that around one third of people suffering from autism actually remain non verbal. Cerebral palsy seems to be entirely disconnected with autism. It is a genetically inherited disorder of person’s posture and movements. This disorder makes certain parts of the body immobile and can affect both voluntary as well as involuntary muscles.
A research on genetic expression among children suffering from cerebral palsy was recently carried out on a large scale. Adelaide university researchers discovered a genetic signal which is found to be common to both people affected by cerebral palsy as well as people affected by autism. The University has collaboration with an Australian group of researchers working on cerebral palsy in Robinson institute of research. This group discovered an underlying and important molecular pathway which is found to be common in all diverse types of the disease. The lead researcher of the group, named Dr. Clare, rather suggested that it has been found to be the most common disability which attacks in childhood stage and affects around Every two children in thousand live births.
Facts Highlighted by Dr. Clare
Dr. Clare quoted that it is known that cerebral palsy like autism is a disorder in brain development at the stage of pregnancy only but still there is poor understanding of the underlying root causes of cerebral palsy.
New sequencing technology of RNA has been used in this research in order to measure the RNA in the cells of children suffering from the disorder. Cell lines from the body of 182 individuals were studied in the research and most of them showed clearly the disruption in cell signaling as well as inflammatory pathways which have already been observed in few children suffering from autism. Dr. Clare further stated that the results of the research clearly showed overlapping of disrupted neurological pathways in children suffering from cerebral palsy with the disruptions observed in autism. This finding according to Dr. Clare is a strong proof of a common biological link between the two disorders. Dr. Clare even stated that co-existence of both diseases in some individuals is also a strong hint towards some biological connection between them.
This research is actually the latest among the series of researches conducted by the Adelaide University. Genetic mutations which seemingly cause cerebral palsy have been found in increasing numbers. This data is used together with already available DNA sequence results which increases the fraction of people with predicted genetic cause to nearly twenty five percent. The University’s research group is a leading group in the world in the process of discovering the genetic basis of the disorder.
This study has been published and supported by prestigious groups like translational psychiatry.