Fulfilling the Promise of Molecular Medicine in a Developmental Brain Disorder
(10/10/2010) 79 minutes


Proper brain function requires the sculpting of connections between neurons during early postnatal life. Synapses - the junctions between nerve cells - are the highways for messages sent and received by every cell in the brain. These junctions are formed and strengthened, weakened and lost, under the influence of sensory experience. Over four decades of research on the visual cortex have culminated in a deep understanding of the mechanisms responsible for whittling away inappropriate synaptic connections. Insights derived from this line of research have recently suggested the remarkable possibility of new treatments that may fundamentally alter the course of fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited form of human intellectual impairment and autism. Dr. Mark Bear initiated the MGluR5 theory of intellectual disability in fragile X syndrome, that led to potential targeted treatments for this disorder.

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