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Oxytocin Improves Brain Function in Children With Autism

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Waverunner, May 21, 2012.

  1. Waverunner

    Waverunner Senior Member

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    It's interesting that a hormone has these positive effects on autism. I wonder if Oxytocin could be used to treat some symptoms in CFS as well.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120519213236.htm

    ScienceDaily (May 19, 2012)
    — Preliminary results from an ongoing, large-scale study by Yale School of Medicine researchers shows that oxytocin -- a naturally occurring substance produced in the brain and throughout the body -- increased brain function in regions that are known to process social information in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

    A Yale Child Study Center research team that includes postdoctoral fellow Ilanit Gordon and Kevin Pelphrey, the Harris Associate Professor of Child Psychiatry and Psychology, will present the results on May 19 at the International Meeting for Autism Research.
    "Our findings provide the first, critical steps toward devising more effective treatments for the core social deficits in autism, which may involve a combination of clinical interventions with an administration of oxytocin," said Gordon. "Such a treatment approach will fundamentally improve our understanding of autism and its treatment."
    Social-communicative dysfunctions are a core characteristic of autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder that can have an enormous emotional and financial burden on the affected individual, their families, and society.
    Gordon said that while a great deal of progress has been made in the field of autism research, there remain few effective treatments and none that directly target the core social dysfunction. Oxytocin has recently received attention for its involvement in regulating social abilities because of its role in many aspects of social behavior and social cognition in humans and other species.
    To assess the impact of oxytocin on the brain function, Gordon and her team conducted a first-of-its-kind, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on children and adolescents aged 7 to 18 with ASD. The team members gave the children a single dose of oxytocin in a nasal spray and used functional magnetic resonance brain imaging to observe its effect.
    The team found that oxytocin increased activations in brain regions known to process social information. Gordon said these brain activations were linked to tasks involving multiple social information processing routes, such as seeing, hearing, and processing information relevant to understanding other people.
    Other authors on the study include Randi H. Bennett, Brent C. vander Wyk, James F. Leckman, and Ruth Feldman.
     
  2. perchance dreamer

    perchance dreamer Senior Member

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    I take Oxytocin occasionally. Mine is a sublingual, and I keep it refrigerated.

    I use it sometimes if I'm having trouble sleeping. It really helps. Sleep is the only thing it helps me with.

    Unfortunately, I find that if I take it more than once a week, it is not effective, so I tend to forget about it for weeks at a time. Still, I'm glad to have it on hand.

    My doctor at the Neurosensory Center prescribed it. I get it from a compounding pharmacy.
     
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  3. Calathea

    Calathea Senior Member

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    I don't know much about the science, but that sounds likely. Oxytocin is produced from snuggling and also from orgasms. From what I know, autistic children tend to avoid physical contact (apologies if I'm wrong here), so would presumably not be getting the physical affection that is so good for children.

    Sex is obviously great in all sorts of ways (if exhausting for us lot), but one of the things that really surprised me when I got into a long-term relationship is how incredibly fantastic snuggling is. We often joke that we are snuggle addicts, and feel deprived if we don't have several good snuggles a day. At the very least, it makes you feel happier, and that will impact upon social functioning amongst other things. If you're happier and more relaxed, difficult tasks tend to become less difficult. The other great thing about snuggling is that unlike sex, it's not draining, so provided you are well enough to handle some basic physical contact, it's easy for folks with ME.

    I seem to recall that oxytocin is also used in childbirth, presumably to help with pain, but perhaps to help with stress as well.
     
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