MONTREAL, April 8 /CNW Telbec/ - Researchers from the CHUM Research
Centre (CRCHUM) have identified a new gene that predisposes people to
both autism and epilepsy.
Led by the neurologist Dr. Patrick Cossette, the research team found a
severe mutation of the synapsin gene (SYN1) in all members of a large
French-Canadian family suffering from epilepsy, including individuals
also suffering from autism. This study also includes an analysis of two
cohorts of individuals from Quebec, which made it possible to identify
other mutations in the SYN1 gene among 1% and 3.5% of those suffering
respectively from autism and epilepsy, while several carriers of the
SYN1 mutation displayed symptoms of both disorders.
"The results show for the first time the role of the SYN1 gene in
autism, in addition to epilepsy, and strengthen the hypothesis that a
deregulation of the function of synapse because of this mutation is the
cause of both diseases," notes Cossette. He adds that "until now, no
other genetic study of humans has made this demonstration."
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