Oxford-based research into autism has hit a major breakthrough, equivalent to one which revoluntionised the understanding of cancer 30 years ago. Scientists at Oxford University were one of three major studies to have identified the genetic mechanisms underlying autistic disorders. Thousands of volunteers had their DNA screened and the scientists believe it has lifted the lid on the causes of autism.
They believe proteins called cell adhesion molecules, which play a vital role in shaping brain “wiring”, and the way nerve cells communicate, play a key role in autism disorders. Study leader, Prof Tony Monaco, from the Wellcome Trust for Human Genetics at Oxford, said: “Most of the genes that have been identified in these studies are involved in the connections between neurons called synapses.
“This does seem to fit with what we know from brain scans — that people with autism may show different or reduced connectivity between different parts of the brain. “This new knowledge allows us to focus our studies on developing new treatments and intervention therapies for the future.” Autism covers a group of conditions known as autism spectrum disorders and affects about one in 150 children, most of whom are male. They find it harder to communicate, have repetitive and narrowly focused behaviour.
Oxford Mail (Thanks Tash)
I gotta get me one of these. (Thanks Liz)
Fox Broadcasting Company announced Monday it will not carry President Barack Obama’s prime time press conference marking his first 100 days in office, the first time a broadcast network has refused an Obama administration request for that valuable airtime.
The network will instead carry its regularly scheduled episode “Lie to Me,” according to its Web site. The show is among the network’s most popular and draws an average of 13 million viewers a week. That compares to the relatively paltry 4.2 million who watched the president’s last prime-time press conference on Fox. In all, close to 40 million watched that event on one of the eight networks that carried it.
CNN (Thanks Katie)
Chris Gregory, 30, shocked his family by belting out a version of Irish ballad Danny Boy from his hospital bed, even though he has never visited the country. Greeting his wife Mary with “It’s da broid’, he continued to speak in the new accent for 30 minutes until his normal voice returned.
Mr Gregory’s strange behaviour – apparently the result of a rare condition called Foreign Accent Syndrome – lifted the mood of the intensive care ward at Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital where he was recovering from surgery to correct a life-threatening blood vessel rupture in his brain.
“All the nurses were trying really hard not to laugh, and I was too. I just couldn’t take it in at first, it seemed so comical, but it didn’t matter at all because I’d been so worried about losing him altogether,” Mrs Gregory, 36, told the Mail.
Telegraph (Thanks Katherine)