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Autism Gene Wires Social Reward Circuits in Mouse Brains

Research and Autism News Autism Treatment News News By State

July 14, 2016- "Autism Gene Wires Social Reward Circuits in Mouse Brains"- Mutations in SHANK3, a leading autism candidate, cause mice to become solitary creatures rather than socialize with their peers. This is because SHANK3 wires the newborn mouse brain to seek social contact, according to a new study. The findings lend support to the theory that, starting at an early age, children with autism are not motivated to seek others’ company. This in turn may limit their opportunity for social development. Moreover, nearly 1 percent of people with autism carry mutations in SHANK3. The study point to the possibility of treating these people with molecules that target the receptor for glutamate, which mediates excitatory signals.