Children with autism frequently have reduced social abilities.
While it is difficult to study causes of social impairment in children, a species of monkey may have the answer.
A new study shows that rhesus macaques with low sociability had low levels of the peptide vasopressin, a hormone, in cerebrospinal fluid, as did children with autism spectrum disorder.
A new study shows that rhesus macaques with low sociability also had low levels of the peptide vasopressin, a hormone, in cerebrospinal fluid, as did children with autism spectrum disorderiPhone transfer software
The study was done by researchers at the California National Primate Research Center at the University of California, Davis and Stanford University.
'At this point, we consider vasopressin concentrations to be a biomarker for low sociability,' said John Capitanio, professor of psychology at UC Davis and a research scientist at the CNPRC.
Capitanio has studied groups of the macaques at the Center for years. About fifteen percent of the animals are classed as 'low social': they spend less time interacting with others than most macaques.
The researchers identified 'high social' and 'low social' monkeys.
They then tested their blood and cerebrospinal fluid for a number of markers previously identified as possibly playing a role in autism.