Bioscience

Fruit fly brains provide clues to autism research

February 2, 2009

By Flinn Foundation

[Source: PhysOrg.com] – Linda L. Restifo of the Arizona Research Laboratory at The University of Arizona has developed a highly unique and promising methodology that uses fruit fly brains to screen for drugs that may increase the cognitive functionality of children with mental retardation or autism.

The fruit fly brain has similar proteins and developmental mechanism to those in human brains. Restifo of the laboratory’s Division of Neurobiology is testing drugs that are already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to determine whether and how well those drugs can change the size or shape of genetically abnormal brain neurons.

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