Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mirror, mirror: Scientists find cause of involuntary movements

30.04.2010
Discovery of mutation in Canadian and Iranian families published in journal Science

Researchers have identified the genetic cause of mirror movements, where affected people are unable to move one side of the body without moving the other. For example, when trying to open and close their right hand, their left hand will unintentionally copy the movement. While mirror movements can be observed in fingers, hands, forearms, toes and feet of young children, persistence beyond the age of 10 is unusual.

The gene mutation found to cause mirror movements is called DCC (Deleted in Colorectal Carcinoma). This important discovery provides new understanding on how mirror movements happen and improve scientific knowledge concerning how the brain functions. Published in the latest edition of Science, the discovery is the collaboration of scientists from the Université de Montréal, Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal, Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montreal, Montreal Heart Institute and Jundishapour University of Medical Sciences.

"We found that all people affected with mirror movements in one large family have the same DCC mutation," says senior author Guy Rouleau, a Université de Montréal professor, director of the Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Center and a scientist at the CHUM Research Centre.

"Our study suggests that individuals with mirror movements have a reduction in the DCC gene product, which normally tells the brain cell processes to cross from one side of the brain to the other. Simply put, DCC mutations have an impact on how the brain communicates with limbs."

Discovery of the DCC mutation is significant, says Dr. Rouleau: "Our study provides important clues as to how the human brain is made. One of the mysteries in neurology is how and why the nervous system crosses – now we have helped reveal the 'how.'"

"This work is of broad interest because, despite the large number of studies on DCC in models such as fruit flies, worms and mice, this is the first study which indicates a role for DCC in the formation of brain cell connections in humans," says Dr. Frédéric Charron, study co-author and research unit director at the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal.

Sample groups from Canada and Iran

As part of the study, the research team analyzed the genes of four-generations of a French Canadian family affected by mirror movements. Another sample group included an Iranian family affected by the same condition. The genes of both families were compared to those of 538 people unaffected by mirror movements.

"Results of general and neurological examinations, as well as magnetic resonance imaging of the brain, were otherwise normal in people affected with mirror movements," explains first author Dr. Myriam Srour, a pediatric neurologist and a doctoral student at the Université de Montréal Faculty of Medicine. "Except that people affected by mirror movements had a DCC mutation, whereas people unaffected by the condition did not."

Among study participants with mirror movements, the condition appeared during infancy or childhood and remained unchanged over time. Approximately half of participants with mirror movements were able to at least partially suppress their condition and function normally.

Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.sciencemag.org
http://www.umontreal.ca/english

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>