Thursday, April 08, 2010

New study of autism reveals a 'DNA tag' (methylation) amenable to treatment

Public release date: 8-Apr-2010
Contact: Cody Mooneyhan
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Research in the FASEB Journal describes discrete epigenetic changes of DNA in a certain subgroup of twins and siblings with autism
A new discovery raises hope that autism may be more easily diagnosed and that its effects may be more reversible than previously thought. In a new study appearing online in The FASEB Journal (, scientists have identified a way to detect the disorder using blood and have discovered that drugs which affect the methylation state ("DNA tagging") of genes could reverse autism's effects. This type of drug is already being used in some cancer treatments.

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To make their discovery, Hu and colleagues identified chemical changes in DNA taken from cells of identical twins and sibling pairs, in which only one of the twins or siblings was diagnosed with autism.

So these are cases of autism most likely to be caused by environmental affects after conception. Which does not preclude a pre-existing susceptibility to the problem.

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"For far too long, autism research has been side-tracked by the cranky notion that it's caused by the MMR vaccine," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "Studies like this, which define genetic and epigenetic changes in discrete subgroups of the autism spectrum, offer real hope that effective treatments and accurate diagnosis are closer at hand."


The epigenetic findings are also evidence for some kind of environmental influence or cause of autism. Not the MMR vaccine, but probably other chemical pollutants. There is already evidence for this.

This is very hopeful news, as mythelation of genes can be reversed. I would call it a temporary mutation. Once a gene in a cell is mythelated, it may pass that on when it divides, including to eggs and sperm. But mythelation and the removal of mythelation can be done by exposure to such things as nutrition and pollutants.


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