GerorgeTown University Medical CenterThis news may not only prove to be a vital insight but may also give hope to a wide group of people with mentally retarded children. Researchers from GeorgeTown University Medical Center claim that a novel understanding of a growth factor caught up in a few mental retardation disorders supposedly result in a unique treatment.

Deformities in the amount and form of dendritic spines, the protrusions that supposedly let interaction between brain neurons, have apparently been seen in patients suffering with mental retardation.

Preceding research was headed by Baoji Xu, PhD, associate professor in the department of pharmacology. That research illustrated that brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a growth factor synthesized in dendrites, apparently adjusts the amount and form of dendritic spines necessary for spatial learning and memory.

Xu and his colleagues stopped the transfer of BDNF to dendritic spines in mice. They claimed to have discovered related deformities in dendritic spine development seen in humans with some type of mental retardation like fragile X syndrome. The mice supposedly also displayed weakened learning and memory.

Xu mentioned that these outcomes apparently emphasize the function of BDNF in mental retardation and point out that raising the transfer of these growth factors may be a technique to treat these conditions.

The research was presented during a symposium at the 39th annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.