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:1/22/2017)... ... , ... Medical lab testing through hospitals and other traditional methods ... will take days to arrive to the end customer, having to travel through medical ... lab tests, bypassing the cost and delay of traditional means. Now all employees of ...
(Date:1/21/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Salveo for life, a company that distributes an effervescent lime-flavored ... States as part of its presence to expand its market reach. , Using a ... productions of nasty toxins as a result of drinking alcohol, eliminating those toxins quickly, ...
(Date:1/21/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... January 21, 2017 , ... Seamild, the ... on the futuristic vision of its owner and founder. As Oat is recognized globally ... to everybody he knows personally as he believes it is a move to sow ...
(Date:1/21/2017)... ... January 21, 2017 , ... Pacifica Graduate Institute’s ... electrifying line-up of events for its annual meeting “Coming Home 2017,” an activity-packed ... “Coming Home 2017” will be held on Friday January 27 through Sunday, January ...
(Date:1/21/2017)... ... January 21, 2017 , ... Santa Rosa ... in Petaluma, located at 167 Lynch Creek Way. The Petaluma office features three ... medicine and rehabilitation services and on-site x-ray services. Two multi-specialist orthopaedic surgeons ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:1/23/2017)... 23, 2017  Therabron Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage ... in respiratory care, today announced that the European ... has granted Orphan Drug Designation for Therabron,s CG367 ... Syndrome (BOS).  "We are pleased to ... to treat patients diagnosed with BOS following lung ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... , Jan. 23, 2017 LifeVac, the ... a blocked airway and prevented choking deaths, welcomes ... advocate to the LifeVac team as Official Spokesperson. ... join the LifeVac team," said Arthur Lih , ... to represent LifeVac and his mission to raise awareness ...
(Date:1/23/2017)... 23, 2017 Research and Markets has announced the ... - Product - Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... Report Highlights: ... trends to identify the investment opportunities Market forecasts till ... Key market trends across the business segments, Regions and Countries ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: