Sunday, September 8, 2013

Could Ear Protein Help Cure ADHD?

My opinion:  This provides a good example of how bizarre bodily functions can sometimes affect entirely different parts of the body.  Just as the lack of ear protein may contribute to hyperactivity, I wonder if other proteins, like those made in the eyes, affect the same issue.  Though it would probably take researchers a while to make any new discoveries, I think these findings may help advance the treatment of ADHD.  Instead of giving our children medications which temporarily relieve the problem, a new medication that fixes this protein issue may directly address the root cause.  Of course, I'm sure many who have ADHD aren't lacking this ear protein.  But it does go to show that, for conditions that are very broadly based, a wide variety of diagnostic techniques and treatments are needed in order to eliminate the problem at hand.  Any other research that may prove useful for ADHD?  Feel free to comment.

Inner ear defects linked to hyperactivity, study finds

What causes hyperactivity? The answer may lie not only between your ears, but inside them.
A genetic defect in the inner ear has been shown to cause hyperactive behavior in mice. The mutation ramps up proteins that regulate signaling in the brain, scientists reported Thursday in the journal Science.
These findings may explain why children with severe hearing loss also tend to exhibit hyperactive behavior. Earlier explanations have focused mainly on social and environmental factors, which can be hard to identify. Now, scientists have evidence of “a neurobiological basis for hyperactive behaviors,” said Jean Hébert, a geneticist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. “That opens new ways to treat these behaviors.”
Hébert and his colleagues began studying hyperactivity in their mice when they noticed some of them acting strangely: They moved wildly in their cages, running “round and round in little circles” and “jerking their heads chaotically,” Hébert said.
When the researchers later dissected the animals, they noticed that their inner ears were damaged. To investigate whether genetics played a role, the team examined three genes known to be important for inner ear development. One of the genes, called Slc12a2, was missing in the hyperactive mice.
The protein encoded by Slc12a2 produces endolymph, a fluid that bathes the inner ear and is important for maintaining balance. But Slc12a2 is also expressed in the brain, where it controls neuron activity.


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