Research into the social deficits of conditions such as autism and schizophrenia could be furthered through the use of animal models, bringing hope to people with the conditions, who may require respite care.
Individuals with the severe social dysfunction seen in such conditions can find it difficult to lead a normal life.
The study, published in Biological Psychiatry, has developed a mouse model to provide insights into the biological factors associated with the social problems.
"While no animal model can be expected to replicate the full complexity of the human behavioral autistic phenotype, the OTR-/- mouse may really help to understand the co-occurrence of these symptoms as a syndrome," said lead researcher Dr Bice Chini.
In other news, a study published in Biological Psychiatry has revealed that the mirror neuron system could be a key factor in the social difficulties experienced by those with autism.
Research into the mirror neuron system in people with the condition showed that it was not broken but delayed.
Find out about Barchester's support for adults and children with a wide range of Autistic spectrum conditions