A team of scientists led by Duke-NUS Medical School has found a potential link between autism and a commonly prescribed antidepressant — but also a possible treatment.
The team of researchers from Singapore and South Korea found that mice that had been exposed to the antidepressant fluoxetine in the womb behaved differently, compared with unexposed mice. Fluoxetine is commonly sold under brand names like Prozac and Sarafem.
Those mice that had been exposed to fluoxetine in the womb were observed to be less inclined to explore unvisited areas and had impaired "social novelty recognition" — they had difficulty remembering mice they had already been introduced to.
But treating fluoxetine-exposed mice with a compound that blocks the overactive receptor alleviated their behavioural problems and improved their working memory.