The journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, recently published a study by researchers from Oregon Health and Science University, which said that a brain protein called WAVE-1 may play a key role in mental retardation. WAVE-1 is a protein that is found throughout the brain and plays an important role in brain cell communication. The research was carried out on mice that were produced, without the WAVE-1 protein, by the researchers . It was found that these mice had balance, motor, learning and memory problems and the symptoms in these mice without WAVE-1, correlate with one form of human mental retardation. The researchers believe the absence of the WAVE-1 protein causes a partial breakdown of the brain cell communication system, that results in reduced learning ability and other problems associated with mental retardation.
The study presented the major conclusion that mental retardation involves many more areas of the brain than first expected and this research conducted on mice may provide information to help scientists better understand mental retardation and to develop new drugs or therapies to counter the condition.