Even in cases like autism where social withdrawal is common.
It’s true that when you feel good, you want to share that feeling with others.
By using light sensitive nerve cells inserted in specific parts of our little mouse buddies brains, researchers were able to turn off and turn on serotonin production with light stimulation.
With serotonin production turned off the mice experienced social withdrawal and stayed isolated and watched re-runs of TV soap opera’s while eating too much pop corn.
Errm, no. Just the part about social withdrawal and staying isolated is true. 🙂
However with serotonin turned on and increased, the opposite was true. The mice became social and wanted to hang around other mice.
Interestingly it didn’t make them want more food or make them more interested in inanimate objects. Meaning that such specific stimulation could be used to increase sociability without increasing addictive traits like drug use, overeating or gambling.
The rise in mice gambling has become close to epidemic proportions in Europe.
No I made that last bit up but who knows right!?
And the good news is that the same stimulation in autistic specific mice had the same effect..,
It made the mice socially active again. Something that mice ‘and humans’ with Autism and Schizophrenia (for example) shy away from.
Further experimentation isolated the subtype of serotonin receptor that produced this effect and a specific drug targetting just that type of receptor had the same effect as the light sensitive nerve cells without effecting other types of serotonin receptor.
This opens up the possibility of minimising side effects and the possible complications of standard SSRI’s (anti depression drugs) which can lead to serotonin overdose.
Of course there is significant evidence showing timed light exposure itself to be in many cases more effective than these drugs.
The link between ‘happy’ chemicals like serotonin and evolutionary advantages of grouping with others is an interesting one.
So not only does serotonin help you feel good.., but it indirectly helps you stay safe and spread that happiness around too.
And what is the main way we trigger the production of serotonin in our bodies?
Light exposure from either sunlight or artificial light including the high CRI LED’s used on the roXiva RX1.