Schizophrenia: Illuminating a potential treatment and gene regulation

A new study from the lab of Waisman investigator Xinyu Zhao, PhD, brings us one step closer to identifying treatments for psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia (SCZ) and illuminates the role of a specific gene in regulating the disorder.  “Regulation of Cav3.2 by schizophrenia risk gene FXR1 is critical for interneuron functions and social behaviors” was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry in April. The study also identifies a specific gene as the regulator of a type of neurons that plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of certain psychiatric disorders.

Artificial intelligence can accelerate clinical diagnosis of fragile X syndrome

An analysis of electronic health records for 1.7 million Wisconsin patients revealed a variety of health problems newly associated with fragile X syndrome, the most common inherited cause of intellectual disability and autism, and may help identify cases years in advance of the typical clinical diagnosis.

Inside Waisman: Meet Lindsay McCary

As a third year graduate student in school psychology at the University of South Carolina, Lindsay McCary, PhD, was looking for a new advisor to help her with her dissertation. At the time, Jane Roberts, PhD, had just joined the Department of Psychology and had some data available on younger children with the genetic disorder fragile X syndrome (FXS). McCary was immediately fascinated by the new professor’s research because it integrated both behavioral and physiological data to examine an individual’s observable characteristics.

Improved technique illuminates fragile X protein

Researchers at the Waisman Center made a significant step in understanding the function of a specific protein, FMR1, whose absence causes fragile X syndrome, or FXS. Waisman investigators Xinyu Zhao, PhD, and Anita Bhattacharyya, PhD, with research associate Meng Li, published their paper “Identification of FMR1-regulated molecular networks in human neurodevelopment” in the March issue of the journal Genome Research.

Five language outcome measures evaluated for intellectual disabilities studies

A multi-university team of researchers found that expressive language sampling (ELS) can be useful in measuring outcomes in clinical trials targeting fragile X syndrome (FXS). According to their study, ELS, a set of procedures for collecting and analyzing spoken language in natural verbal interactions, yielded five language-related outcome measures that may be useful for treatment studies in intellectual disabilities, especially FXS.

Electronic records pin broad set of health risks on genetic premutation

It was long believed the FMR1 premutation — an excessive number of trinucleotide repeats in the FMR1 gene — had no direct effect on the people who carry it. Until recently, the only recognized effect on the carriers of the flawed gene was the risk of having offspring with fragile X syndrome, a rare but serious form of developmental disability.

Cell component breakdown suggests possible treatment for multiple neural disorders

UW-Madison research published today (Feb. 11, 2019) reveals how one mutation causes fragile X, the most common inherited intellectual disability. “Fragile X syndrome has been studied as a model of intellectual disability because in theory it’s comparatively simple,” says senior author Xinyu Zhao, a professor of neuroscience in the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Machine learning can detect a genetic disorder from speech recordings

How much information can we extract from a five-minute recording of someone talking? Enough to tell whether that individual may be genetically predisposed to some health complications, according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s …