Northwestern University LogoThis news may explain way autistic people are not fond of hugs or any kind of physical touch. A new study from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine claims to have discovered that in the fragile X syndrome there seems to be postponed growth of the sensory cortex, the part of the brain that apparently reacts to touch.

This holdup may activate a domino consequence and additionally cause issues with the proper wiring of the brain. Comprehending how and when the role of the brain may be affected in fragile X appears to provide an aim for a therapy to mend the mistaken growth.

“There is a ‘critical period’ during development, when the brain is very plastic and is changing rapidly,” commented, Anis Contractor, assistant professor of physiology at Feinberg and the lead investigator of the study. “All the elements of this rapid development have to be coordinated so that the brain becomes wired correctly and therefore functions properly,”

Working with a mouse model of fragile X, Contractor discovered the growth of synapses, the places where neurons converse with each other, appeared to be postponed in the sensory cortex.

Contractor mentioned, “The critical period may provide a window during which therapeutic intervention can correct synaptic development and reverse some of the symptoms of the disease.

People with this syndrome apparently have incapacitating sensory in addition to cognitive issues.

Contractor added, “They have tactile defensiveness. They don’t look in people’s eyes, they won’t hug their parents, and they are hypersensitive to touch and sound. All of this causes anxiety for family and friends as well as for the fragile X patients themselves. Now we have the first understanding of what goes wrong in the brain.”

The sensory surplus in people having fragile X may lead to social withdrawal, hyperarousal and anxiety. It appears to emerge during early infancy and increasingly deteriorates all through childhood. Fragile X syndrome is apparently due to a gene mutation in the X chromosome that may hinder in the generation of a protein known as fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP). That protein may navigate the configuration of other proteins that could construct synapses in the brain. People with fragile X are apparently lacking FMRP.

Boys seem to be more acutely impacted by fragile X since they have only one X chromosome. Girls, who have two X chromosomes, seem to be less influenced by the fault.

Contractor and colleagues found that the sensory cortex was apparently late to mature by documenting the electrical signals circulating through the animals’ synapses. This is said to have offered a snapshot of when and how this portion of the brain was growing. The capability of the brain to properly process incoming information could be based on the proper growth of these synapses.

The study was published in the Journal Neuron.