BOB HIRSHON (host):
New insights into Fragile X. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
A genetic disorder called Fragile X Syndrome is a leading cause of mental and social impairments. Now, biologist Vitaly Klyatchko of Washington University in St. Louis may have found out why. His team found that the brain cells of mice with Fragile X release unusually large quantities of neurotransmitters: the signaling molecules that brain cells use to communicate. Klyatchko says this could lead to information overload.
VITALY KLYATCHKO (Washington University, St. Louis):
If you’re listening to the radio, to one program, you normally can hear it very well. What we found which would be analogy, is that suddenly you’re hearing three or four stations at the same time.
They also identified a defective protein that seems to cause the problem, and when they blocked it, the signaling returned to normal. It’s a long way from here to humans, but the results suggest that the symptoms of Fragile X are potentially treatable. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.