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Could genetics help explain intellectual disability in children?
Date:6/23/2014

Teams of leading UK scientists have joined forces to unlock an untapped source of genetic information in a bid to better understand and treat children with Intellectual Disability. Experts from Cambridge, Cardiff, and UCL (University College London) will be given unprecedented access to genetic information on intellectual disability from NHS Regional Genetics Centres across the UK as part of a first phase study funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Medical Research Foundation (MRF).

The main objective of the research, led by Professor David Skuse of the UCL Institute of Child Health, is to gain a better understanding of why the genetic anomalies that cause learning disabilities lead to behavioural problems in childhood and a heightened risk of later-developing psychiatric disorders in adolescence and adulthood.

Its main objective is to recruit over 10,000 participants, creating a resource of unparalleled size and detail on the associations between specific genetic risk factors, learning disability, and behaviour.

"There are an estimated 1.5M people with Intellectual Disabilities in the UK and a significant number of them are children under 18 years of age," according to Professor Jeremy Hall from Cardiff University's Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute and MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics & Genomics.

"Whilst we know intellectual disability can be caused by events such as extreme premature birth, birth injury or brain infections, research has found that minor chromosomal anomalies - known as copy number variations (CNV) - are strongly associated with children with an Intellectual Disability." Intellectual Disability - or more commonly known as learning disabilities - usually appears before adulthood. The signs and symptoms are mainly behavioral, with children experiencing difficulties in learning to talk, memory and learning key social skills.

"This vital information is picke
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Contact: Chris Jones
jonesc83@cardiff.ac.uk
029-208-74731
Cardiff University
Source:Eurekalert

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