downloadAutism, or better referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder is a varying spectrum of disorders that are involved with brain development. These disorders are typically associated with difficulty in communication, social issues, and repetitive behaviors, to list a few. An interesting fact about autism is that there is an abnormal amount of brain development within the first two years of a child’s life. Recently, a new study came forth with information reveling why there is this excess brain growth. Using skin cells, researchers were able to stem cell techniques to create neurons of children affected with autism, revealing a different pathology of those children unaffected with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Stem Cell technology can vary widely in what type of stem cells are used and what treatment they are used for. Different types include Embryonic, Induced Pluripotent, and tissue stem cells. The technique used in this study was taking skin cell samples, mixing with chemicals and creating Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells which later gave birth to neurons.

The results of this study gave a startling answer. First, the neuron precursor cells derived from stem cells from patients with Autism revealed that they grew at a much faster rate than those without Autism. This is assumed to be from a disruption of the normal cell division process in the brain. Second, those derived stem cells from patients with Autism showed to react differently than those without, with activity occurring less frequently, concluding that the neurons seem to be defective.

To combat these deficiencies, the researchers applied Insulin Growth Factor – 1 (IGF-1), typically used for increasing pituitary function, growth hormone deficiency, and more. The application of IGF-1 was to increase neuron connection, another function that it is known for. Positive results with this test could lead to future therapy applications of IGF-1 in patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder to increase these defective neurons. Further testing is needed, but if positive results continue to come, IGF-1 therapy treatment in Autistic patients could lead to increase cognitive abilities.



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