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Dachel Media Review: Nobel Prize

Online newsBy Anne Dachel

Read Anne's comments and see the links after the jump.

Oct 8, 2013, Medina County Gazette: Scientists share win for work on cells
Oct 8, 2013, Autism Researcher Among Nobel Prize Winners
Oct 7, 2013, Stanford University News: Thomas Südhof wins Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Oct 7, 2013, Seriously, Stanford's Südhof is a Nobel Prize Winner

Medina County Gazette

"Sudhof has spent the past 30 years prying loose the secrets of the synapse,..."

"Now his laboratory at Stanford studies how malfunctioning signals in the brain may contribute to disease such as Alzheimer's and autism."

"One of three recipients of this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is a neuroscientist whose research is shedding light on autism."

Stanford University News

"Neuroscientist Thomas Südhof, MD, professor of molecular and cellular physiology at the Stanford School of Medicine, won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine....
"He elaborated in the press call a few hours after the announcement. 'There is a gap, a tremendous gap, between the need to understand diseases that affect the brain and the understanding that we have. Not because of lack of effort, but because the problem is so daunting. I do think that our work will contribute a little to the task, which is enormous. I am convinced that will eventually lead to therapies.' In addition to schizophrenia and autism."

"Südhof in 2009 published research documenting how a gene implicated in autism and schizophrenia alters mice's synapses and produces behavioral changes mirroring neuropsychiatric disorders in humans."
Noble Prize for Medicine goes to researcher working on a brain research that MAY shed some light on autism.  Dr. Thomas Sudhof has been working on this for the past 30 years and the job is daunting.  There's this "tremendous gap" between what we know and what we need to know and the problem is "so daunting."

Sudhof thinks his work may contribute "a little to the task, which is enormous."

I guess the messages here are: Top people are looking into autism.  It's genetic.  The problem is enormous.  It's taken 30 years to get this far, so don't expect all the answers in your lifetime.  AND....don't focus on what Dr. Peter Bearman at Columbia called, "the search for the quick and dirty explanation," I.e. vaccines.

If people are winning Noble Prizes for work on autism, what more can we expect?



They are looking at the malfunctioning signals.If the structure is damaged then the function will be disabled or will malfunction.I have to agree with Twyla,PLEASE SCIENTISTS
look it the root causes
of Autism.If the neurons damaged by the mercury,then perfect
neuron to neuron communication will NOT be possible.What if the blood brain barrier is weak (due to vaccine damage)how is that will effect the brain's biochemistry? Can they look at what happens when early clamping is done,less of those stem cells available to finish the connections and help the maturation of the central nervous system.What happens to the connections/neurons if the baby is anemic and experiences hypoxia (low oxygenation of the tissues,including the brain)long term?When they are looking at the "malfunctioning signals" the damage is already done.My God,it may to take 50 years to find the answers???!!!

tony villar

Great minds, but small ideas.

Mice and Men are not equal.

Jeannette Bishop

OK, I'm looking at a couple of the studies referenced by Sudhof's study, assuming this is the correct one,

and I'm not sure what I'm reading:

"We found 66 deletions and 5 duplications in NRXN1, including a de novo deletion: 12 deletions and 2 duplications occurred in schizophrenia cases (0.47%) compared to 49 and 3 (0.15%) in controls."

So deletions in the "implicated" gene were found in less than half a percent of schizophrenia patients?

"We have implicated the neurexin 1 (NRXN1) gene in two independent subjects who display an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in association with a balanced chromosomal abnormality involving 2p16.3. ... A scan of the NRXN1 coding sequence in a cohort of ASD subjects, relative to non-ASD controls, revealed that amino acid alterations in neurexin 1 are not present at high frequency in ASD. However, a number of rare sequence variants in the coding region, including two missense changes in conserved residues of the α-neurexin 1 leader sequence and of an epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like domain, respectively, suggest that even subtle changes in NRXN1 might contribute to susceptibility to ASD."

So how many with autism have deletions in this "implicated" gene???

And are they actually saying because deletions in a gene in mice increases susceptibility to cognitive dysfunction then we can likely assume this is likely the cause of autism and schizophrenia for at least zero-point-something percent of all cases and we're pretty certain we are now hoping we understand these we-already-know-to-be-inherited-and-we-all-know-inherited-equals-genes-so-now-we-are-just-trying-to-pinpoint-the-genes disorders better???


“Through their discoveries, Rothman, Schekman and Südhof have revealed the exquisitely precise control system for the transport and delivery of cellular cargo. Disturbances in this system have deleterious effects and contribute to conditions such as neurological diseases, diabetes and immunological disorders,” the Nobel Assembly said in a statement."

Ah, but what causes disturbances in the system?

“We’d like to understand how synapse communication leads to learning on a larger scale. How are the specific connections established? How do they form? And what happens in schizophrenia and autism when these connections are compromised?”

Doesn't sound like they have shed any light on autism yet - they're just doing a bit of wondering.

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