Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Autism treatment: Researchers identify possible treatment for impaired sociability

Date:
December 8, 2010
Source:
Eastern Virginia Medical School
Summary:
Researchers have identified a potential novel treatment strategy for the social impairment of people with autism spectrum disorders, an aspect of the condition that has a profound impact on quality of life.

Eastern Virginia Medical School researchers have identified a potential novel treatment strategy for the social impairment of people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), an aspect of the condition that has a profound impact on quality of life.

Related Articles


"Persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders are either disinterested in social interactions or find them unpleasant. They often don't understand what other people are thinking or feeling and misinterpret social cues," said Stephen I. Deutsch, MD, PhD, the Ann Robinson Chair and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. "Sadly, persons with autism spectrum disorders are often painfully aware of their limited sociability, which can lead to profound feelings of sadness and frustration."

As part of their research, EVMS scientists verified that a specific mouse strain, known as the BALB/c mouse, is a valid animal model of the limited sociability seen in persons with ASD. In the presence of another mouse, BALB/c mice move as far away as possible and do not interact as normal mice do -- just like people with autism often avoid making social contact with other people.

This finding gave researchers a way to test whether an existing medication can alter the function of certain receptors in the brain known to affect sociability and help the animals be more at ease around others. The medication used, D-Cycloserine, originally was developed to treat tuberculosis, but previous studies showed, by chance, that it might change social behavior. In preliminary studies at EVMS, the medication appeared to resolve the Balb/c mouse's deficits of sociability; it behaved as a normal mouse would when placed near another.

Dr. Deutsch will discuss the research at EVMS' Quarterly Autism Education Series at noon, Dec. 14, in the school's Hofheimer Hall auditorium.

EVMS' laboratory studies with the Balb/c mouse led its investigators to hypothesize that D-Cycloserine could ease the impaired sociability of persons with autism, such as avoiding eye contact and personal interaction. Those traits can severely limit the possibility of employment and independent living for someone with autism.

"What makes this important is you might have someone with a 125 or 130 IQ who's unemployable" because of their social impairments, said Maria R. Urbano, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

Dr. Urbano is moving this promising research from the laboratory directly to patient care by starting a pilot clinical trial of D-Cycloserine in adolescent and young adult patients with autism spectrum disorders. The trial will show whether the medication, which is already known to be safe for use in humans, has similar effects on the sociability deficits of persons with autism as it did in the mice. Her research is supported by a grant from the Hampton Roads Community Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Eastern Virginia Medical School. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Jacome LF, Burket JA, Herndon AL, Cannon WR, Deutsch SI. D-serine improves dimensions of the sociability deficit of the genetically-inbred Balb/c mouse strain. Brain Res Bull., 2010 Nov 5. [link]
  2. Deutsch SI, Burket JA, Jacome LF, Cannon WR, Herndon AL. d-Cycloserine improves the impaired sociability of the Balb/c mouse. Brain Res Bull., 2010 Oct 21 [link]
  3. Burket JA, Herndon AL, Deutsch SI. Locomotor activity of the genetically inbred Balb/c mouse strain is suppressed by a socially salient stimulus. Brain Res Bull., 2010 Oct 30;83(5):255-6. [link]

Cite This Page:

Eastern Virginia Medical School. "Autism treatment: Researchers identify possible treatment for impaired sociability." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101208151619.htm>.
Eastern Virginia Medical School. (2010, December 8). Autism treatment: Researchers identify possible treatment for impaired sociability. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101208151619.htm
Eastern Virginia Medical School. "Autism treatment: Researchers identify possible treatment for impaired sociability." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101208151619.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins