Autism may be linked to defects in mitochondria, UC Davis study says

Autistic children have a high incidence of defects in mitochondria, the “powerhouses” of cells, but it is not yet clear if those defects are a cause of the disorder or a byproduct of some more fundamental defect, UC Davis researchers said Tuesday. Mitochondria create energy for cellular metabolism and when they are dysfunctional, cells do not operate efficiently. That can be particularly disruptive for cells, such as brain cells, that have high energy demands. A lack of energy for brain cells during development could help explain why children with autism do not function properly. Only the heart consumes more energy than the brain, and defects in mitochondria have already been shown to accompany other neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. . latimes.com For the original News item

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