Navigation Links
Lack of Brain Protein May Explain 'Rain Man' Abilities
Date:2/12/2008

Autistic savants learn some tasks better, but forget faster, study suggests

TUESDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- The lack of a particular brain protein may explain the phenomenon of "Rain Man" -- autistic savants who learn some tasks better but also forget faster, say researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mice genetically engineered to lack a key protein used for building synapses -- the junctions through which brain cells communicate -- actually learned a spatial memory task faster and better than normal mice, according to findings in the Feb. 13 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. But when tested weeks later, the altered mice couldn't remember what they had learned as well as normal mice, and they had trouble remembering contexts that should have provoked fear.

"These opposite effects on different types of learning are reminiscent of the mixed features of autistic patients, who may be disabled in some cognitive areas but show enhanced abilities in others," study co-author Albert Y. Hung, a staff neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, said in a prepared statement. "The superior learning ability of these mutant mice in a specific realm is reminiscent of human autistic savants."

The absence of this important synaptic scaffold protein, called Shank1, may "trap" the mice's synapses into a state in which the synapses are ready to respond to input but not maintain it in long-term memory, he said.

In humans, mutations in the closely related protein Shank3 have been linked to the autism spectrum of disorders (ASD) characterized by impaired social interaction, absent or delayed language development and repetitive behaviors. Occasionally, an autistic person has an outstanding skill, such as an incredible rote memory or musical ability. Such individuals, like the character Dustin Hoffman played in the film "Rain Man," may be referred to as autistic savants.

More information

The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities has more about autism.



-- Kevin McKeever



SOURCE: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, news release, Feb. 12, 2008


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Draining away brains toxic protein to stop Alzheimers
2. Vision restoration therapy shown to improve brain activity in brain injured patients
3. Clinical depression linked to abnormal emotional brain circuits
4. Brain imaging reveals breakdown of normal emotional processing
5. Brain cells work differently than previously thought
6. Vaccine Stops Alzheimers Brain Tangles
7. Research may unlock mystery of autisms origin in the brain
8. Scientists Spot Brains Free Will Center
9. Free will takes flight: how our brains respond to an approaching menace
10. Alcoholics With Cirrhosis Have More Brain Damage
11. Brain Lesions Predict MS Progression
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Lack of Brain Protein May Explain 'Rain Man' Abilities
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... June 26, 2016 , ... Pixel Film Studios Released ProSlice Levels, ... editors can give their videos a whole new perspective by using the title ... Pixel Film Studios. , ProSlice Levels contains over 30 Different presets to choose ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Lake Orion, Clarkston, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... June ... ... direction with respect to fertility once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. These ... tolerable intercourse but they also require a comprehensive approach that can help for ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... FL (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial ... Plant City Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the ... closing for fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar Marathe earned his Bachelors in ... School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal Medicine at Scripps Green Hospital ... at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had the opportunity to train in ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits ... terms of the latter, setting the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps ... slow progress toward their goal. , Research from PsychTests.com reveals that ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Bracket , a leading clinical trial ... clinical outcomes platform, Bracket eCOA (SM) 6.0, at the ... – 30, 2016 in Philadelphia , Pennsylvania.  ... Assessment product of its kind to fully integrate with RTSM, ... eCOA 6.0 is a flexible platform for electronic clinical outcomes ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... and INDIANAPOLIS , June 23, ... a Lilly Diabetes Tomorrow,s Leaders Scholarship is any indication, ... winners, announced today online at www.diabetesscholars.org by ... 1 diabetes stand in the way of academic and ... the Foundation,s scholarship program since 2012, and continues to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... Oticon , industry leaders in advanced ... launch of Oticon Opn ™, the world,s first ... of possibilities for IoT devices.      (Photo: ... Oticon introduces a number of ,world firsts,: ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: