Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2017

Acid-sensing Ion Channels (ASICs) and Autism � Acid in the Brain

Acid sensing ion channels (ASICs) are another emerging area of science where much remains known.It would seem that ASICs have evolved for a good reason, when pH levels fall they trigger a reaction to compensate.(The lower the pH the higher is the acidity)In some cases, like seizures, this seems to work, but in other cases the reaction produced actually makes a bad situation worse.

Research is ongoing to find inhibitors of ASICs to treat specific conditions raging from MS (Multiple Sclerosis), Parkinson�s and Huntington�s to depression and anxiety. Perhaps autism should be added to the list. NSAIDs like ibuprofen are inhibitors of ASICs. The complicated-looking chart below explains the mechanism.The ASIC is on the left, also present is a voltage-gated calcium channel (VGCC) and an NMDA receptor. We already know that VGCCs can play a key role in autism and mast cell degranulation. Similarly we know that in autism there is very often either too much or too little NMDA signaling. Here we hav…

Agmatine - a Magic Bullet in Clinical Neuroscience?

Today�s post is about Agmatine, a naturally occurring metabolite of the amino acid arginine, which is referred to in recent studies as both a �magic bullet� and a �magic shotgun�. Normally when things sound too good to be true, you do need to be rather suspicious, but our reader Tyler has already been trialing Agmatine over the summer months and he continues to be a big believer. As we will see in this post Agmatine has multiple different effects and while this is often the case with drugs and gives them both good and bad effects, in the case of Agmatine this ability to affect multiple targets is put forward as an advantage. NAC, the antioxidant now widely used in autism, also has numerous beneficial effects and can even reverse propionic acid induced autism. I think we can call NAC a silver bullet. You will recall that amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Nine amino acids are called essential for humans because they cannot be produced by the human body and so must be taken in…

Music for Autism? � an acquired taste, apparently

Today�s post is about music and music therapy.
A new study reports that music therapy does not improve autism symptoms.
In an earlier post we saw that singing reduces the level of your stress hormone cortisol; this was based on testing adults in a choir, so not music novices.
Music has actually been shown to do much more than just reduce your level of stress, it can actually affect the expression of your genes, but only in those who are �musically experienced�; in people with little experience of music it does nothing.
The effect of listening to music on human transcriptome Although brain imaging studies have demonstrated that listening to music alters human brain structure and function, the molecular mechanisms mediating those effects remain unknown. With the advent of genomics and bioinformatics approaches, these effects of music can now be studied in a more detailed fashion. To verify whether listening to classical music has any effect on human transcriptome, we performed genome-wide tr…