Scientific Breakthroughs

Autism Causes Latest Research Uncovers New Tool: Getting Inside the Mind of an Autistic Kid

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Autism Causes Latest Research Uncovers New Tool: Getting Inside the Mind of an Autistic Kid

Understanding how the human mind works can be baffling. With individuals grappling with autism, the ways to connect may be through the affected person’s interests, obsessions and toys. Beyond that, scientists continue to study how to more easily tailor treatments to battle the complex disorder. Some latest research studies on causes of autism uncovered a new tool that will see how the brain works, shedding greater light on how autism can be approached.

Obtaining new insights on the function of certain parts of the brain augurs well for those diagnosed with autism. They can pave the way for further research and findings on effective treatment approaches to conditions concerning the brain and neurological issues.

The New Brain Mapping Tool

The new tool deemed as a “breakthrough method in brain mapping” is called Multiplexed Analysis of Projections by Sequencing (MAPseq) and was discussed in a study published in the September edition of the journal Neuron.

When the neurons, the specialized cells that transmit nerve impulses, send information to the distant brain regions, they do so through long-range axonal projections. MAPseq is a revolutionary technique that can map the projections of up to millions of single neurons by labeling large sets of the neurons with random RNA sequences or “barcodes.”

Yes, the new tool uses genetic “barcodes” instead of colors to investigate the path of the neurons. Each barcode is an RNA sequence: a unique string of protein, resembling the kind that dictates the identity of each of our own cells.

Viruses transport the RNA through the neurons. When the viruses light up, they allow researchers to see which cells have picked up a barcode.

The Long Journey to Battle the Disorder

Autism is a complex brain disorder accompanied in most cases by communication and social difficulties and characterized by repetitive behavior. Similar disorders are normally referred to collectively as autism spectrum disorders (ASD),  the underlying causes of which remain unclear to many people.

In a society that does not fully comprehend what autism is, there have been parents who have candidly shared that there can be good moments as well as trying or difficult times. Families with autistic kids celebrate breakthrough experiences, and continually cast an alert eye for nurturing settings that alleviate the autistic condition or offer them hope.

The recent research on causes of autism signifies another milestone in the unending search for developments that spark hope for treatment.

Photo Source: Valary at Flickr

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