UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — An international team of scientists analyzed DNA samples and brain scan results from more than 1,500 teenagers, and also conducted a series of tests to determine the coefficient of their verbal and non-verbal intelligence.
Scientists were primarily interested in the thickness of the cortex of the subjects, the so-called “gray matter”, which plays a key role in the development of memory, the level of attention and perception, thinking and conscience.
Then, tens of thousands (over 54,000) of genetic variants that could have an impact on the brain development process were analyzed. At the same time, it was possible to prove that in adolescents with certain genes, the cortex in the left hemisphere of the brain was thinner. They showed the worst results in IQ tests.
The genetic deviation identified by us determines synaptic plasticity, i.e., the level of neuron communication. It will expand understanding of the processes occurring at the level of neurons in certain disorders of communication between nerve cells.
A genetic abnormality detected by Deriviere and her group affects the NPTN gene, which is associated with a protein that acts in neural connections, and therefore is responsible for communication between brain cells.
The results described in an article published today in the journal Molecular Psychiatry can deepen understanding of the biological mechanisms associated with many psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and autism.
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