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Doctors Reverse With Drugs Autism-Linked Fragile X Syndrome In Mice

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the kmart-definitely-sucks dept.

Medicine 63

An anonymous reader writes "New research by a team of Bangalore-based scientists has given hope to those with emotional problems caused by the inheritance of a fragile X chromosome. The researchers, for the first time in the world, mapped defective connections between nerve cells in the emotional hub of the brain of mice who had Fragile X Syndrome. The research has just been published in the online edition of the US-based Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences." Besides the mapping of these nerves, though, "The NCBS team has shown that even the long-term ravages of the condition could be reversed with medication in mice." Fragile X syndrome is associated with autism, though the conditions do not map directly to each other.

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63 comments

Where There's a Will There's a Way (2, Informative)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 3 years ago | (#32551800)

There has to be some way to tie an Indian Call Center Joke into this...

Re:Where There's a Will There's a Way (1)

kaka.mala.vachva (1164605) | more than 3 years ago | (#32553974)

Thats the first thing that came to your mind why you read this? Really? Pathetic!

Re:Where There's a Will There's a Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32555946)

works for me

What? (5, Insightful)

XnavxeMiyyep (782119) | more than 3 years ago | (#32551802)

Doctors Reverse With Drugs Autism-Linked Fragile X Syndrome

What?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32551822)

Seriously, I had to read that headline so many times to parse it, I think either I or the submitter is autistic.

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32551966)

They might be.

If they had said "Doctors reverse Autism-linked Fragile-X syndrome with drugs" it seems that Fragile-X syndrome with drugs" is what is being reversed.

It would have been more-easily-understood if the article was titled "Autism-Related Fragile-X Syndrome Reversed With Use Of Drug Treatment"

Re:What? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32554820)

The word "doctors" is completely unnecessary; we can all infer that it wasn't mailmen or tour guides doing this research. Try: Drugs Reverse Fragile-X Syndrome In Mice, Could Lead To Autism Treatment

Re:What? (1)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 3 years ago | (#32554802)

Seriously, I had to read that headline so many times to parse it, I think either I or the submitter is autistic.

Great , now we just need a cure for dyslexia .

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#32551936)

That is a really -bad- headline.

Removing two whole words would fix it too (words that aren't really required in the headline)
Doctors Reverse Autism-Linked Fragile X Syndrome In Mice

Really now... how they did it doesn't need to be in the headline.

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

lgw (121541) | more than 3 years ago | (#32553028)

These days, headlines aren't for reading by humans, but by search engines. If "Autism drugs" is a trending search, it's a perfect headline - the words are even adjacent. It's the sad modern word of news.

Re:What? (4, Funny)

XCondE (615309) | more than 3 years ago | (#32552884)

Doctors Reverse With Drugs Autism-Linked Fragile X Syndrome

What?

Editors are sick of people not reading the summary so they're making the headline incomprehensible. Your move.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32553130)

More fraud from so-called 'researchers'.

"Fragile X syndrome is associated with autism, though the conditions do not map directly to each other."

Yes, I bet they don't.

Animal experiments are scientific fraud. I laugh at the way that the Slashdot crowd, who think they are intelligent, are merely parrotting whatever bullshit the paid for media tells them.

92% of drugs which pass animal experiments, FAIL human experiments, (AKA 'clinical trials').

Any comments?

Re:What? (2, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#32553504)

Animal experiments are scientific fraud.

Not true. The Japanese have been doing experiments on whales for some time and the incontrovertible conclusion is that they taste very nice.

Re:What? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32557734)

Not true. The Japanese have been doing experiments on whales for some time and the incontrovertible conclusion is that they taste very nice.

Apparently dolphins taste quite similar, but bioconcentrate more mercury, so Japanese are very upset that they have apparently often been sold dolphin as whale. Not for the dolphins, mind you; they're willing to kill whales for food, we already know they're morally bankrupt. They're just upset at the mercury danger to their children. Witness the awesome power of industrialized society to abstract away ecological disaster. I like my whale steak with some BP sauce.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32555094)

You're an idiot. 87% of human experts AGREE.

Re:What? (1)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#32556116)

Do you prefer that all experimental compounds would be tested directly on humans? Do you know how many compounds do not pass even the animal testing stage?
The tests on animals are not supposed to find drugs that can be used on humans (AKA people), but are supposed to find candidate drugs to be tested on a small set of humans (AKA Phase 0 of Phase I clinical trials [wikipedia.org] ). If these trials are successful the researchers go on to the next stages of testing. It is a foregone conclusion that most compounds will fail in clinical trials, although they were successful on animals. That is one of the reasons that drug development is so expensive. This does not mean that animal experiments are a fraud, it only means that it has limitations that need to be understood - and most researchers understand them. Obviously, you don't.

DUH (1)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 3 years ago | (#32556846)

"Fragile X syndrome is associated with autism, though the conditions do not map directly to each other."

Yes, I bet they don't.

A "DUH" moment.
Fragile X syndrome is associated with autism in humans [wikipedia.org] . It does not map directly to classical autism because there are additional symptoms that are not always present in autism, and most people with autism do not have the fragile X genetic defect.

So it is not clear whether a drug that cures fragile X in humans would help most autistic people.

Animal experiments are scientific fraud. I laugh at the way that the Slashdot crowd, who think they are intelligent, are merely parrotting whatever bullshit the paid for media tells them.

92% of drugs which pass animal experiments, FAIL human experiments, (AKA 'clinical trials').

This is stupid. Pharmaceutical companies are businesses. They care about the bottom line. Do you really think that pharmaceutical companies would use animal models for drug discovery if they did not work? Do you really imagine that 8% of randomly selected chemical compounds would be effective in treating humans? Eight percent is doing extremely well. The role of animal testing is not to verify with certainty that a drug will work in humans, but rather to filter out the overwhelming majority of drugs that do not work in either humans or animals. Generations of research have shown that the biochemical effects of a drug are almost always similar in humans or animals. If a drug does not work as desired in animals, the likelihood that it will work in humans is negligible. Ultimately, there are certainly subtleties of human biology that require testing in humans. But if the most toxic molecules were not already filtered out by animal testing, the risks of human testing would be so great that drug testing would be ethically unacceptable for anything other than terminal diseases (and perhaps not even those).

Human testing will ultimately be necessary to determine whether a drug that cures symptoms of Fragile X in animals will cure autistic symptoms of Fragile X in humans, much less autism in general, because autism is a behavioral syndrome that relates to unique human behaviors. But the chances are much better for a drug that successfully treats the symptoms of fragile X that are recognizable in animals, rather than for a random chemical. And even if it only treated the other symptoms of fragile X, it would still be valuable

Suggestions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32554112)

Doctors Reverse With Drugs Autism-Linked Fragile X Syndrome In Mice

Autism Drug Reverses Fragile X Syndrome in Mice
Drug Reverses Autism-Linked Fragile X Syndrome In Mice
Fragile X Syndrome in Mice Reversed by Autism Drug
Autism-Linked Fragile X Syndrome reversed in Mice
Mice treated for Autism-Linked Fragile X Syndrome with new Drug

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32572838)

!!!Slashdot On Headlines Reversed Have Dyslexia With Editors

Headline...? (1, Insightful)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 3 years ago | (#32551898)

What the hell is with that headline?

Re:Headline...? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#32552190)

Drugs Autism is a special form of Autism where you can't communicate with drugs.
A Drugs Autism-Linked Fragile X is something unknown which is in danger of being broken by someone with Drug Autism.
Now doctors have used that to reverse a syndrome in mice.

SCNR :-)

We're not done looking for solutions (1, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 3 years ago | (#32551904)

Up to 20% of boys with autism have the condition due to Fragile X.

In other words, at least 80% of individuals with autism need to find hope for a cure somewhere else.

What Is Your Point? (3, Insightful)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 3 years ago | (#32551932)

In other words, at least 80% of individuals with autism need to find hope for a cure somewhere else.

20% is an insignificant number? Not if your child has Autism. And suppose you had Cancer, would you pass on looking into a treatment because it "ONLY" had a 20% rate of potential improvement?

Hoestly, what is your point?

Re:What Is Your Point? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#32551970)

maybe not the best example, as there is not a singular cancer, but multiple. Ok, they all revolve around cells dividing in a erratic manner, but cancer in different parts of the body trigger for different reasons.

Re:What Is Your Point? (3, Interesting)

sjames (1099) | more than 3 years ago | (#32552080)

Perhaps more to the point, if a cure works in the 20% of sufferers who's condition includes X and you are in that 20%, it's great news. It is unfortunate that it doesn't help the other 80%, but it';s not like that makes it a failure.

Re:What Is Your Point? (4, Insightful)

nashv (1479253) | more than 3 years ago | (#32552096)

Actually, It is a rather good example. Autism is a set of symptoms that also have varying causes , Fragile X being one of them. Even the potential to fix one kind of cause is better than none.

Re:We're not done looking for solutions (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 3 years ago | (#32559224)

Many autistics don't want a cure, they would probably welcome getting some of the obnoxious symptoms under control, but for many Autistics, being cured of autism would be like Negroes being cured of negroism!

everyone from India? cure for slashdoters? (2, Interesting)

maxwells daemon (105725) | more than 3 years ago | (#32551912)

1. Aparna Suvrathan a,
      2. Charles A. Hoeffer b,
      3. Helen Wong b,
      4. Eric Klann b, and
      5. Sumantra Chattarji a,1

- Author Affiliations
            a National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore 560065, India; and
            b Center for Neural Science, New York University, New York, NY 10003

These are lab findings in cells of knock out mice and indicate that the process may be still amenable to pharmaceuticals. All you Asperger's at /. keep this in mind!

Re:everyone from India? cure for slashdoters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32554660)

Well, first, someone better has to duplicate this results that is not in Bangalore. India and China is notorious for having "results" that don't work.

Misleading headline. Fragile X != Autism (3, Informative)

Trixter (9555) | more than 3 years ago | (#32551976)

The symptoms are similar but they are only tangentially related. The headline is incredibly misleading by suggesting a drug has been produced that can reverse autism, which is of course not true.

My X is sometimes fragile after upgrades (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32552030)

Usually stops the mouse from working.

I get the sense this is not what the article is about. :P

Misleading headline, "mapped"=/="reversed" (2, Interesting)

AscianBound (1359727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32552066)

Both the /. and original news headline claim that scientists have found a way to "reverse" the fragile-x syndrome, but the study simply says that they have "mapped" the defective connections. That doesn't mean they know how to fix them yet...

Related Slashdot post from June 27, 2007 (3, Informative)

PatPending (953482) | more than 3 years ago | (#32552100)

From June 27, 2007:

Autism Reversed in Mice at MIT Lab [slashdot.org]

Re:Related Slashdot post from June 27, 2007 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32552176)

Wow. The very last /. exclusive. Those were the days, when you could read slashdot and not see new articles that were posted everywhere else the week before.

Re:Related Slashdot post from June 27, 2007 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32552584)

Autism Reversed in Mice at MIT Lab

I'm *really* trying to imagine what an autistic mouse would be like, or how one would tell it from an ordinary mouse..

Re:Related Slashdot post from June 27, 2007 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32559662)

You mean, "Reversed Mice MIT in Autism Lab at."

And here, a mere three years later, someone discovered it! Perhaps the scientists were working in a call center, reading from a script, and read a three year old newspaper instead?

Word order? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32552174)

Editors confuse with word order many slashdot readers

Sweet. (4, Interesting)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 3 years ago | (#32552236)

My oldest son has Fragile X and is diagnosed in the Autism spectrum. It's an incredibly impairing disability, and I'll be asking his doctor to keep on eye on the clinical trials.

On a side note, as well voiced thus far, what headline is the hell up with what is there? For cryin' out loud.

Doctor Reversed Nothing (4, Informative)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 3 years ago | (#32552662)

They supposedly mapped the connections involved.

They previously determined what enzyme caused the damage and found something to inhibit it.

They *assert* that they could possibly reverse the damage using this inhibiting enzyme. COULD.

Inhibiting damage can prevent. You cannot inhibit damage already done. Inhibition and reversal are not the same. Nor are the two syndromes involved.

Times of India ranks up there with Pravda when it comes to truthful accuracy, especially when it comes to home ground science. The "for the first time" gets read as though nobody had ever done this mapping before. It could as easily mean it was the first time they did it. It has been done before.

The asserted reversal has also been done before. Not by them or by their New York friends, but at MIT.

Re:Doctor Reversed Nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32553064)

While Times of India may not be paragon of truth, they are technically no different than any other news paper in any other country; no need to be snooty there. Some points to note:

1. The 2007 paper and current paper both appear in PNAS, a reputable international peer reviewed journal.
2. Corresponding author in the current paper (Sumantra Chatterji) is a senior author in the 2007 paper (check the author contributions in that article - it is available for free).
3. This is a continuation of the 2007 work, a small step and how the science is supposed to progress knowledge.
4. There are some differences between the two studies. In a nutshell, the current wok looks at amygdala, the brain center concerned with emotional response while the 2007 paper and others on the subject have been on hippocampus, the brain center concerned with learning. Autism/Fragile-X syndrome/Mental illnesses include deficiencies in both, so any and all insights are well come.
5. This is a basic science research; what you will get is an *assertion*. For the proof you will have to wait for the clinical research.

Disclaimer: I am an Indian; I do research on Autism and mental illnesses. I am not connected to this paper.

Re:Doctor Reversed Nothing (1)

nashv (1479253) | more than 3 years ago | (#32553410)

I am not surprised. As an Indian and a biologist, and having been involved with NCBS at some time , I have to unfortunately admit that NCBS has a tendency to toot its horn louder than it has earned the right to. The Indian press for that matter, for the lack of bleeding edge Indian-origin science stories, sucks up NCBS's blaring trumpets like it was Mozart's unknown masterpiece every time.

Tea Parties In Rabbit Holes (1)

mindbrane (1548037) | more than 3 years ago | (#32553514)

I read the wiki article. Epistemology, thus neuroscience, is a main area of interest for me. I'm very reticent about jumping on the band wagon for stuff like this just because what we call mind and behaviour is very complex. The American biologist, Gregory Bateson [wikipedia.org] wrote a couple of wonderful, thought provoking books, 'Steps to an Ecology of the Mind', and, 'Mind and Nature'. In 'Mind and Nature' Bateson referenced an idea made famous by A. Korzybski [wikipedia.org] that Bateson put as, "The Map Is Not The Territory, And The Name Is Not The Thing Named". Science, to my mind, is, for the most part, a process of elegant, rigorous, robust mapping. That having been said, I can't see that we're anywhere near being able to celebrate having reliably mapped something like autism, the more so because behaviour is so much a socially derived and defined thing. Just to further my point, there is currently (sorry not enough time to track down the links) an area of research suggesting that during conception sperm and egg can wage chemical warfare. The sperm wages war to ensure a fertilized egg is given the most resources the female has available for the fetus, while the egg can wage chemical warfare to limit the amount of resources a fetus is given because the female may not see the offspring to be "worthy" of her full allocation of resources. The outcome can demonstrate aberrant states like schizophrenia.

This stuff is like anti-psychotic medicines that target the dopamine system in schizophrenics. It can show benefits but only with potentially, highly detrimental side effects, and is nowhere near representing a clear understanding of the disease.

not at all my bailiwick, but just thought I'd throw my two pennies in the pot

Unfortunate side-effects. (1)

yacwroy (1558349) | more than 3 years ago | (#32554428)

However, The Lancet just published a study by a well-known British surgeon which found these drugs frequently caused MMR.

Re:Unfortunate side-effects. (1)

budgenator (254554) | more than 3 years ago | (#32559428)

I'm aware of a study that was retracted by the Lancet, authored by a gastroenterologist who had his license to practise medicine revoked that talked mentioned MMR, is that the one?

With Drugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32555234)

Doctors Reverse With Drugs Autism-Linked Fragile X Syndrome In Mice
Doctors With Drugs In Mice Reverse Autism-Linked Fragile X Syndrom
Doctors In Mice With Drugs Autism-Linked Fragile X Syndrom Reverse
Mice With Drugs Reverse In Doctors Fragile Autism-Linked Syndrom X
Drugged Autist Mice Reverse In Fragile Doctors With X-Linked Syndom
Drugs With Mice Doctors Replace Fragile Autism With Linked X Syndrom
My Brain Hurts!

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