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Another way to learn about the underlying biological mechanism of primary motor stereotypies is to study animals that exhibit spontaneous repetitive movements. We’re currently conducting an animal study that examines the brain chemistry of deer mice that have inherited involuntary stereotypic jumping and somersault movements.
High jumper deer mouse
The deer mouse (Perromyscus maniculatus) raised in standard laboratory caging develops high rates of spontaneous stereotyped behaviors such as jumping, rearing and flipping. Here is an example of repetitive jumping.
High Jumper deer mouse - Backflipper
Here a deer mouse raised in the lab exhibits spontaneous stereotyped backward flipping behavior.
Our goal is to identify differences in brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) between animals with frequent and infrequent motor stereotypies. Understanding the underlying biological mechanisms could lead to the development of potential pharmacological treatments.
Future studies are planned to test specific, yet-to-be-determined drugs. Based on our animal studies, a pharmacotherapy treatment may be developed for patients with motor stereotypies disorder.