Most cases of autism are, reportedly, caused by an individual single genetic mutation. However, researchers have traced some autistic-like disorders, including the rare Fragile X Syndrome, to a specific mutation. Several years ago, MIT neuroscientist, Mark Bear, discovered this mutation leads to an over-production of protein found in brain synapses - those connections between neurons that allow them to communicate with each other.
In a paper recently published in Nature Mark Bear and his colleagues have now shown that tuberous sclerosis, another rare disease characterised by autism and mental retardation, is actually caused by the opposite malfunction - too little synthesis of those synaptic proteins. Getting a little too complicated? Read the article below: