Growth hormone improves social impairments in those with autism-linked disorder
A growth hormone can significantly improve the social impairment associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in patients with a related genetic syndrome, according to a pilot study conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published yesterday on Pub Med, a public database of biomedical topics maintained by the National Institutes of Health (study originally published in the December 12 issue of the journal Molecular Autism).
The study results focus specifically on the use of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) to treat Phelan-McDermid syndrome (PMS), a disorder caused by a deletion or mutation of the SHANK3 gene on chromosome 22. Along with facing developmental and language delays and motor skill deficits, most people with PMS also have autism spectrum disorder.
SHANK3 is a focus of research in the field because of its essential role in the function of synapses, the gaps between nerve cells that "decide" whether messages continue along nerve pathways as they regulate bodily processes. While Phelan-McDermid syndrome is a rare disorder, advanced genetic technology has revealed it to be a relatively common cause of ASD.
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- 19th February 2015
- Medical Xpress