When the topic comes on the children’s health issues and future of the nation, the subject autism comes first in our mind. If anyone asks the reason behind this, then he or she seems like out of mind or world. Autism is the only one neuropsychiatric disorder, which is incurable as it is strongly genetic, and comes with different social skill disorders. Besides social skill impairments, motor skills are also disturbed or hampered in some cases of autistic individuals.
Point to be Noted:
The first point to note about it is, autism is an incurable one still, and the second important point to know is, autism is widely spread throughout the world from 1st world countries like U.S to the 3rd world countries.
As autism comes with multiple disorders, it is also named ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders). Besides behavioral disorders and motor skill impairment, other kind of diseases are also associated with it. For example, gastrointestinal disorders, sleep disorder, immune deficiency are the few of the additional diseases along with the behavioral symptoms.
As autism is strongly genetic and researchers have found more than 500 genetic variants, so we need to follow genomic and proteomic study to reveal the undiscovered fact of autism to get an ultimate cure. Discovery of several genetic factors have been done, but there are some difficulties that geneticists are facing like,
# How do these genetic variants work to enhance language impairments, social skill disabilities, repetitive behaviors, where most of these 500 genetic variants are responsible for a little bit raise of autistic symptoms?
# A neuroscientist at the University of California, San Diego, Alysson Muotri said, “If we sequence two people with very similar symptoms, what we see is they don’t necessarily have mutations in the same genes”
This statement by Alysson Muotri is clear enough to understand that, finding more of 500 genetic variants responsible for autism can’t help to find out an identical gene therapy for all the autistic individuals.
Role of Stem Cells:
Now researchers need to see the preliminary stage of neuronal growth of an autistic individual. It will guide them to know the beginning or an initial stage of an impaired neuronal cell maturation.
Image Courtesy: http://www.epigenesys.eu
It is possible if iPS (induced Pluripotent Stem Cells) cells of autistic patients are grown into the nerve cells. Induced pluripotent stem cells have the capability to grow in different types of cells. At the prenatal stage, when a newborn is in its mothers womb, stem cells are matured into different types of cells like, neuronal cells, skin cells, hepatocytes or liver tissues etc.
Scientists are now collecting cells from the skin, blood and teeth of autism diagnosed patients. The cells from different sources are then turning into neurons through an intermediate stage, where these collected cells are first transformed into the iPS (induced Pluripotent Stem Cells) of the patients.
It is hoped that this technique will help to grip the variability of autism facts, pointed above.