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Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the University of Milan in Italy have identified a gene in human neurons that protects against the degeneration of motor neurons in the deadly diseases ALS and SMA. Gene therapy in animal models of these diseases was shown to protect against cell death and increase life expectancy. The study is published in the eminent journal Acta Neuropathologica.
Sten Linnarsson, professor of molecular systems biology at Karolinska Institutet, is trying to understand the development of the human brain. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is now giving him this year’s Torsten Söderberg Academy Professorial Chair in Medicine for his work in achieving a detailed map of the human brain. The grant consists of SEK ten million over a five-year period.
A new multinational study of parental age and autism risk, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry, found increased autism rates among children whose parents have relatively large gaps between their ages. The study also confirmed that older parents are at higher risk of having children with autism. The analysis, which is the largest-ever, included more than 5.7 million children in five countries.