Over one hour, a particularly motivated mouse poked its nose 350 times into a hole in the test chamber in the hopes of meeting a playmate.
Spectrum: Autism Research News
Tag: social reward
The drugs may reopen a critical window during development in which the brain can more easily adjust its connections.
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.
Blocking connections between the amygdala and hypothalamus prevents mice from finding social interactions as rewarding as they would otherwise.
Mice missing a copy of the autism-linked gene PTEN show a reduced preference for social interaction, possibly due to atypically large, overconnected dopamine neurons. Easing the overconnection may alleviate this trait.
Two types of neurons process social information, a new mouse study suggests, but only one is disrupted in mice missing the autism-linked gene FMR1.
The more children with autism tune in to and communicate with others as toddlers, the stronger their conversation skills are later in childhood.