HOUSTON — (May 7, 2012) – The deletion of part of a gene that plays a role in the synthesis of carnitine – an amino acid derivative that helps the body use fat for energy – may play a role in milder forms of autism, said a group of researchers led by those at Baylor College of Medicine (http://www.bcm.edu) and Texas Children’s Hospital (http://www.texaschildrens.org).
“This is a novel inborn error of metabolism,” said Dr. Arthur Beaudet (http://www.bcm.edu/genetics/index.cfm?pmid=10579), chair of molecular and human genetics at BCM and a physician at Texas Children’s Hospital, and the senior author of the report that appears online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (http://www.pnas.org). “How it is associated with the causes of autism is as yet unclear. However, it could point to a means of treatment or even prevention in some patients.”
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