Neural Dynamics of Autistic Repetitive Behaviors and Fragile X Syndrome: Basal Ganglia Movement Gating and mGluR-Modulated Adaptively Timed Learning.

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Neural Dynamics of Autistic Repetitive Behaviors and Fragile X Syndrome: Basal Ganglia Movement Gating and mGluR-Modulated Adaptively Timed Learning.

Front Psychol. 2018;9:269

Authors: Grossberg S, Kishnan D

Abstract
This article develops the iSTART neural model that proposes how specific imbalances in cognitive, emotional, timing, and motor processes that involve brain regions like prefrontal cortex, temporal cortex, amygdala, hypothalamus, hippocampus, and cerebellum may interact together to cause behavioral symptoms of autism. These imbalances include underaroused emotional depression in the amygdala/hypothalamus, learning of hyperspecific recognition categories that help to cause narrowly focused attention in temporal and prefrontal cortices, and breakdowns of adaptively timed motivated attention and motor circuits in the hippocampus and cerebellum. The article expands the model’s explanatory range by, first, explaining recent data about Fragile X syndrome (FXS), mGluR, and trace conditioning; and, second, by explaining distinct causes of stereotyped behaviors in individuals with autism. Some of these stereotyped behaviors, such as an insistence on sameness and circumscribed interests, may result from imbalances in the cognitive and emotional circuits that iSTART models. These behaviors may be ameliorated by operant conditioning methods. Other stereotyped behaviors, such as repetitive motor behaviors, may result from imbalances in how the direct and indirect pathways of the basal ganglia open or close movement gates, respectively. These repetitive behaviors may be ameliorated by drugs that augment D2 dopamine receptor responses or reduce D1 dopamine receptor responses. The article also notes the ubiquitous role of gating by basal ganglia loops in regulating all the functions that iSTART models.

PMID: 29593596 [PubMed]

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