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Mount Sinai Researchers Discover Heightened Activity of Specific Brain Cells Following Traumatic Social Experience Blocks Social Reward and Promotes Sustained Social Avoidance That Can Contribute to Psychiatric Disorders


Past social trauma is encoded by a population of stress/threat-responsive brain cells that become hyperactivated during subsequent interaction with non-threatening social targets. As a consequence, previously rewarding social targets are now perceived as social threats, which promotes generalized social avoidance and impaired social reward processing that can contribute to psychiatric disorders, according to a study conducted in mice by researchers at the Brain and Body Research Center at Mount Sinai and published November 30 in Nature.

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