Saturday January 25, 2020

Here’s Why Genes Are Linked to Autism Risk

Research tested the ability of a low dose of the drug Ketamine, which is used clinically at higher doses as an anesthetic, to normalise the alterations in brain function induced by genetic deletion

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Autism
Importantly, the researchers found that the ability of the brain regions to communicate with other brain areas is impaired by the genetic deletion leading to Autism. Pxabay

Researchers have discovered how a genetic alteration that increases the risk of developing Autism and Tourette’s impairs brain communication.

People with a genetic deletion known as chromosome 2p16.3 deletion often experience developmental delay and have learning difficulties.

They are also around 15 times more likely to develop Autism and 20 times more likely to develop Tourette’s Syndrome, but the mechanisms involved are not completely understood.

Using brain imaging studies, neuroscientists showed that deletion of the gene impacted by 2p16.3 deletion (Neurexin1) have impacts on the function of brain regions involved in both conditions.

This genetic deletion disrupts a brain area known as the Thalamus, compromising its ability to communicate with other brain areas, said the study published in the journal Cerebral Cortex.

“We currently have a very poor understanding of how the 2p16.3 deletion dramatically increases the risk of developing these disorders,” said lead researcher Neil Dawson of Lancaster University in Britain.

“However, we know that the 2p16.3 deletion involves deletion of the Neurexin1 gene, a gene that makes a protein responsible for allowing neurons to communicate effectively,” Dawson said.

Deletion of the Neurexin1 gene affects brain areas involved in Autism and Tourette’s including the Thalamus, a collection of brain regions that play a key role in helping other brain areas communicate with each other.

Changes were also found in brain regions involved in processing sensory information and in learning and memory.

Importantly, the researchers also found that the ability of the Thalamic brain regions to communicate with other brain areas was impaired by the genetic deletion.

Autism
Researchers have discovered how a genetic alteration that increases the risk of developing Autism and Tourette’s impairs brain communication. Pixabay

They then tested the ability of a low dose of the drug Ketamine, which is used clinically at higher doses as an anesthetic, to normalise the alterations in brain function induced by genetic deletion.

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“Intriguingly our data suggest that Ketamine can restore some aspects of the brain dysfunction that results from 2p16.3 deletion and suggests that ketamine, or other related drugs, may be useful in treating some of the symptoms seen in autism and Tourette’s,” Dawson said. (IANS)

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Top Tips to Personalize Your Fitness Routine

Find a personalised exercise routine for your body

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Fitness
With so many options available in the fitness space, finding the one right for you can be a task. Pixabay

With so many options available in the health, lifestyle fitness space, finding the one right for you can be a task.

Amaresh Ojha, CEO and Founder, Gympik shares his top tips.

1. Assess your fitness level- To assess your fitness progress, calculating the number of beats of your resting heart rate (RHR) is a beneficial way. The RHR should reduce as your fitness improves.

To calculate your RHR, place two fingers on your wrist (radial artery), and then count the number of heart beats you feel in a period of 60 seconds. Make sure to count the first beat as ezero’.

More than 101 is unusually high and not good. Between 81 and 100 is high, but acceptable, between 61 and 80 is average and 60 or less is good.

Fitness
Assessing your fitness level can be very helpful. Pixabay

2. Choose what form of exercise works best for you- While any type of physical activity is beneficial for you, different physical activities present different results.

Yoga is a discipline that focuses on breathing methods, meditation, and physical postures. It has a low-impact structure and hence is gentler on the joints. Yoga helps in improving muscle endurance, flexibility and body balance.

Zumba is an amalgamation of both fast and slow dancing, so it works on your whole body, helping you to lose weight and tone every muscle group, predominantly your back and abdominals. It also improves your posture, balance and flexibility. So, if you wish to develop a flamboyant body shape along with enhancing your dance moves, Zumba will be the right choice for you. One concern with this exercise form is that the best result for Zumba comes while working out in groups, so you will have to join a Zumba class to get the best out of this exercise form.

Pilates is largely focused with core strength. It improves muscle tone and strength along with obtaining a leaner look. This exercise form promotes balanced muscle development, flexibility and helps you in gaining a beautiful posture. Hence, the gateway to a graceful personality is through regular Pilates workout. One disadvantage of this type of exercise form is that it misses out on cardio, so it’s not very effective for steady weight loss.

Walking is one of the best exercises that must be an integral part of your fitness schedule. Regular brisk walk can help in preventing heart diseases and managing high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes along with improving the mood. No matter how many hours you spend in the gym, walking is the best way to lose weight and stay healthy. This is one of the exercise forms that can be practised by all.

Cycling is an activity that is gentle on the joints. It burns fat and improves your cardiovascular health. If you wish to increase your stamina and at the same time tone up your muscles, cycling is the best way of doing so. You can easily make it a part of your routine by building it in your day as a means of transport.

Fitness
Consult with your doctor before incorporating a fitness routine in your lifestyle. Pixabay

3. E-Fitness learning platforms can help you analyse the pros and cons of any form of exercise and you can choose the correct type of exercise for yourself once you know the benefits of each type. There are several E-Fitness channels that you can subscribe to and work with a virtual instructor, who will guide you through your fitness journey.

4. Exercise safe and focus on the health concerns. Pre-exercise screening will help you to identify any medical conditions that may put you at a higher risk of enduring a health issue during physical activity. Consult with your doctor before incorporating a fitness routine in your lifestyle. Certain exercises like running on the treadmill, sprinting, heavy weightlifting etc. can prove injurious for heart patients. Similarly, certain breathing exercises in Yoga can prove harmful for asthmatic patients.

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While there are several options available, the most important thing to keep in mind is to choose an exercise that you find fun and can stick to for the long haul. Choose from your preferences and make your exercise time fun. Do you wish to spend time indoors or outdoors? Alone or with friends/people?

If you choose an activity that seems like a burden after some time, you are more likely to abandon a healthy lifestyle. (IANS)