Children with Angelman Syndrome develop normally until about 1 year of age and then their intellectual development stops. They fail to develop language and other cognitive skills, are severely mentally handicapped, but have a happy disposition, laughing, smiling and enjoying social interaction. What could be behind this syndrome?
A new study of Angelman Syndrome shows that an interaction between the genetic defect and sensory activity robs cortical synapses of their normal plasticity. Simply using the synapses depletes them of plasticity. This leaves neural connections in the cortex rigid, unable to be fine tuned and to develop normal function.
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