Novel Genetic Mutations Affecting Intelligence

Decreased mental acuity can stem from multiple sources; i.e., from head trauma, age related diseases, and inherited genetic defects. An estimated 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer�s disease or some other form of dementia requiring extensive medical and family care. Mental retardation affects approximately 1 to 3% of the general population and has a large social impact from increased incarceration rates, increased unemployment and increased reliance on welfare. Certain forms of mental retardation have been associated with decreased or abnormal axonal growth. Cochran and Harding have shown that genetic diseases found in the sphingolipid cluster and DNA repair cluster are associated with increased intelligence in heterozygotes. These mutations are associated with increased dendridic and axonal growth and branching. By targeting drugs that would mimic parts of these mutations it might be possible to affect a change in intelligence without negative side effects.

There is currently no known method to boost intelligence in normal or impaired individuals; however drugs exist to help maintain acquired intelligence. Market analysis shows that products currently used that have a neuroprotective effect had a market value of $5.1 billion in 2005 out of a CNS market value of $34.6 billion in all these areas.

Stage of Development
This technology is part of an active and ongoing research program and is seeking partners for development of the working product. It is available for licensing under either exclusive or non-exclusive terms.

Additional Info
Cochran, G., Hardy, J. and Harpending, H. (2005) Natural History of Ashkenazi Intelligence. Journal of Biosocial Science. published online June 17, 2005

Inventor(s): Gregory Cochran, Henry Harpending

Type of Offer: Licensing

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