Discovery of new autism markers in kids may help formulation of better treatment for those with autism and epilepsy as per a study at Northwestern University, published in Neuron.
It is found that autistic brain has abnormally lower levels of calming brain protein (due to mutation) nicknamed “catnap2,”, CNTNAP2, that often leads to epilepsy in these kids. Nearly 30-50% of autistic children have epilepsy, among which 90% have a genetic cause (1/58 children in the U.S.).
‘Discovery of new autism markers in kids may help formulation of better treatment for those with autism and epilepsy.’
The study also found that this protein could be detected in the cerebrospinal fluid as demonstrated in individuals with autism and epilepsy, and mouse models.
“We can replace CNTNAP2. We can make it in a test tube and should be able inject it into children’s spinal fluid, which will go back into their brain,” says lead study author Peter Penzes, the director of the Center for Autism and Neurodevelopment at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
The study findings thereby make the protein a promising marker to diagnose autism and potentially treat epilepsy that accompanies the disorder.