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New study may lead to treatment for neurodevelopmental disorders

Neurodevelopmental disorders affect hundreds of people in the United States, including many in Prince George’s County. According to the World Health Organization, the most common form of a neurodevelopmental disorder is autism but it also includes any condition where a child may not mature like other children, show signs of childhood-onset schizophrenia or struggle with attention deficit disorder. Often there are few options when it comes to treatment of these disorders.

However, a new study could open the doorway into developing a treatment that goes to the heart of the problem. Researchers from New York University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced that they were able to reverse certain symptoms, similar to those in neurodevelopmental disorders, in mice.

The human brain contains a portion called the cortex and this portion helps people pay attention to things around them, plan out action and think. The cortex is connected to the thalamus and receives information from it. However, if it receives too much information, the cortex is unable to do its job properly, resulting in cognitive problems for the person. Within the thalamus is a group of nerve cells that sends this information and a gene called PTchd1. When the gene is absent, the nerve cells send too much data to the cortex. Researchers found that by adding the compound, the mice’s autistic-like behaviors were reversed.

Children with serious learning disabilities often require special care but sometimes, parents are overwhelmed financially. In such cases, they may be able to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits on behalf of their child. To understand what they need to provide, they may find it helpful to contact an attorney.

Source: MIT News, “Study reveals a basis for attention deficits,” Anne Trafton, March 23, 2016

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