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City boffins take key role in genetics programme.

EXPERTS from Cardiff University are among a team of academics involved in a study aimed at improving the understanding and treatment of intellectual disabilities in children.

The team will join colleagues from Cambridge University and University College London and will be given unprecedented access to genetic information for the study, which is funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and Medical Research Foundation (MRF).

The objective is to gain understanding of why genetic anomalies that cause learning disabilities lead to behavioural problems in childhood and a heightened risk of developing psychiatric disorders in adolescence and adulthood.

The study will recruit more than 10,000 participants, creating a resource of unparalleled size and detail on the associations between specific genetic risk factors, learning disability, and behaviour. "There are around 1.5 million people with intellectual disabilities in the UK and a significant number are under 18," said Professor Jeremy Hall, from Cardiff University's MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics & Genomics. "While we know intellectual disability can be caused by events such as extreme premature birth, birth injury or brain infections, research has found that minor chromosomal anomalies - known as copy number variations (CNV) - are strongly asso N -ciated with children with an intellectual disability."

Intellectual disability usually appears before adulthood, with children experiencing difficulties in learning to talk, memory and learning social skills.

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 23, 2014
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