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Why autism affects boys more than girls

Posted on: May 22, 2009

Photo by sebadanon

Photo by sebadanon

It’s a know fact autism is four times more likely to occur in boys than girls; but why? According to a new findings by the journal Molecular Psychiatry, researchers say they have found a genetic clue that may help answer that very question.

A newly discovered autism-risk gene, identified as CACNA1G, is more common in boys than in girls (it’s still not clear why), which suggest it plays a role in boys’ increased risk of the disorder.  Sitting on chromosome 17, CACNA1G, amid other genes that have been previously linked to autism, is responsible for regulating the flow of calcium into and out of cells.  Research suggests that imbalances in the calcium in the brain’s never cells can result in the overstimulation of neural connections and cause developmental issues, such as autism and even epilepsy.

“Our current theories about autism suggest that the disorder is related to overexcitability at nerve endings,” says Geri Dawson, chief science officer of Autism Speaks, an advocacy group that provided the genetic data used by the study’s authors. “It’s interesting to see that the gene they identified appears to modulate excitability of neurons.”

For a great autism support website visit


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