New research could help improve social interactions for people with autism

Researchers at UT Southwestern came up with a new way to stimulate a part of your brain that controls social interactions. (UT Southwestern Medical Center)
Researchers at UT Southwestern came up with a new way to stimulate a part of your brain that controls social interactions. (UT Southwestern Medical Center)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new study from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas is giving some families hope. The research found a way to stimulate a specific part of a brain that controls your social interactions.

The research, so far, has been done on mice, so Professor Peter Tsai, who led the study, told KXAN the next step would be making sure the same techniques could work for people.

But even though this research is still in early stages, many people say it’s encouraging.

Ann Hart has a son who lives with autism. She’s also a board member of the Autism Society of Texas. She said, “Research that leads to treatment is always especially exciting for those of us who live with autism.”

Researchers at UT Southwestern came up with a new way to stimulate a part of your brain that controls social interactions. (UT Southwestern Medical Center)
Researchers at UT Southwestern came up with a new way to stimulate a part of your brain that controls social interactions. (UT Southwestern Medical Center)

People living with autism may struggle with social cues and interactions, but Tsai told KXAN, this research could lead to improving their social behavior, which could have a significant impact on their quality of life.

Experts believe about one in 68 children in the United States lives with autism.

Hart said when her son was diagnosed, resources were limited, so she’s happy to see improvements being made to provide more support for families whose loved ones have autism.

She would like to see, however, improvements in service availability and cost, so more families can afford the therapy their loved ones need.

“Our worry is almost universally what will happen to our family members when they, when something happens to us,” Hart explained. “When we’re gone, or even if we’re not gone, unable to keep them at home or oversee their day to day life.”

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