Several new studies challenge the ‘broken mirror’ hypothesis of autism, which suggests that defects in specialized brain cells called mirror neurons explain why people with the disorder find social interaction difficult.
Children with autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are both more motivated by money than by praise, according to a study published in January in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
Children with autism show abnormally strong synchrony between deep and outer layers of the brain, according to a study published online 31 December in Biological Psychiatry.
A new intervention that teaches toddlers skills in a real-world environment — a playgroup rather than a one-on-one interaction with a researcher, for instance — more than doubles their ability to imitate others, according to a January study in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.
Oxytocin may activate the mirror neuron system — a group of neurons that is active when people empathize with others — according to a paper published in the November Psychoneuroendocrinology.
Mice missing a large protein at the junction between neurons show motor impairments, anxiety and increased social behaviors, according to a study in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The protein, postsynaptic density-95 or PSD-95, is part of a key molecular bridge connecting other proteins linked to autism.