A researcher’s existential crisis led to a scientific breakthrough.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Drugs such as LSD act primarily on the serotonin system, which is implicated in autism — and some autistic people who experiment with psychoactive compounds report enhanced social connections, among other benefits. But researchers have more questions than answers.
The finding that MDMA and an experimental serotonin agonist increase sociability across six different model mice suggests that disparate autism-linked mutations converge on the same underlying pathways.
The high levels of serotonin seen in the blood of some autistic people have confounded scientists for more than half a century. Despite so little progress, some researchers refuse to give up.
A glowing protein tracks serotonin levels and location in the brains of living mice and could yield clues to the neurotransmitter’s role in autism.
A class of medications used to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder seems to ease compulsive behaviors in adults with autism. Why can’t we tell if these medications work similarly in children with the condition?
The drug popularly known as ecstasy may boost sociability through brain circuits distinct from that underlying its ‘high.’
The ability to learn from social experiences wanes by adulthood, at least in mice — but the recreational drug ecstasy may bring it back.