Epilepsy, Autism, Schizophrenia: Master Switch That 'Balances The Brain' Found

Thursday, September 25, 2008 - 09:35 in Biology & Nature

Neuroscientists have identified the first known "master switch" to orchestrate the formation and maintenance of inhibitory synapses on neurons, essential for proper brain function. The switch, called Npas4, regulates more than 200 genes that calm over-excited cells, restoring a balance that is thought to go askew in neurologic disorders like epilepsy, autism and schizophrenia. Inhibitory connections are also required to launch critical periods, when the brain can readily rewire and learn.

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