New Connection Discovered Between PTSD and Autism Traits

May 20, 2024

Mild Stress Can Trigger PTSD-Like Memories in People with Autism, Highlighting Need for Targeted Stress Management and Early Intervention

A recent study published in iScience has revealed a critical link between PTSD-like memory formation and core traits of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The authors found that even mild stress could cause PTSD-like memories in mouse models of ASD, showing that mice exhibiting symptoms of autism are more sensitive to stress compared to control mice. This increased sensitivity is believed to be due to problems in the prefrontal cortex and changes in certain brain circuits, especially those involving specific types of neurons called parvalbumin-positive interneurons (PV-INs). These brain issues prevent normal stress responses, leading to traumatic memories and worsening autism traits. However, a treatment called recontextualization therapy, which helps reassign traumatic memories to specific contexts, was shown to reduce PTSD-like memories and improve autism symptoms significantly. This study suggests that managing stress in people with autism could help alleviate some of their core challenges. It also highlights the importance of early detection and targeted interventions for anxiety in individuals with autism. Ultimately, this research offers new insights into the shared mechanisms of ASD and PTSD and points to potential new treatment strategies.

Original Article

Original Study

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