Potential Autism Trigger Found in Brain Growth Enzymes, University of North Carolina Study

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Some cases of autism may be related to damage in a key set of enzymes that are critical during brain growth and development, possibly helping narrow the search for causes of the condition, researchers said. The enzymes known as topoisomerases work like scissors and glue when brain cells known as neurons are being copied or expressed, said Mark Zylka, an associate professor in the Neuroscience Center at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. When studies linked mutations in the enzymes to some patients with autism last year, the researchers sought to determine what exact effect they had on the brain.

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