New study challenges ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) research norms, highlighting similarities in male and female ASD mice. Emphasizes the importance of gender-inclusive investigations.
A recent study from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem sheds light on the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in both male and female mouse models, challenging the conventional research focus that predominantly centers on males.
ASD, a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with synaptic abnormalities, exhibits a higher prevalence rate among males, estimated at a 4:1 ratio compared to females. This imbalance has historically led to a predominant emphasis on males in ASD studies. However, emerging evidence suggests potential underestimation of ASD prevalence among females.
The study at the Hebrew University unveiled remarkable similarities in synaptic abnormalities and behavioral traits between male and female ASD mouse models. Contrary to prevailing assumptions, it disputes the notion that males are at a higher risk due to unique genetic factors.
Prof. Haitham Amal, leading the investigation at HU’s School of Pharmacy, emphasized the imperative need for a paradigm shift in ASD research. He stressed the importance of inclusive studies involving both sexes to comprehensively understand the intricacies of ASD.
The research examined young male and female mice with specific autism-linked mutations and compared them to regular mice. Analyzing synaptic connections and neural protein levels revealed substantial deficits in both male and female ASD mice. These deficits correlated with behavioral abnormalities related to sociability, observed similarly in both sexes.
Amal highlighted the significance of the study’s findings, advocating for a broader approach in ASD investigations. The observed parallels between male and female ASD mice challenge the traditional male-focused approach, urging the scientific community to include females in ASD studies.
These discoveries have profound implications for understanding ASD’s neurodevelopmental aspects. The alignment of synaptic and behavioral changes in both male and female ASD mice underscores the necessity of studying females alongside males in ASD research.
The study underscores the importance of considering both sexes to comprehensively comprehend and address the complexities of autism spectrum disorder. This marks a pivotal advancement in understanding ASD, transcending the conventional male-focused perspective.
Despite substantial global funding for ASD research, there exists a historical imbalance, with a predominant focus on studying ASD in boys. Addressing this gap by allocating resources to understand the unique manifestations of girls on the autism spectrum is crucial for advancing comprehensive autism research and support.
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