Navigation Links
'Bonding' Hormone Might Help Some With Autism
Date:2/15/2010

High-functioning patients grasped interpersonal cues better after oxytocin treatment

MONDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) -- People with high-functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome were better able to "catch" social cues after inhaling the hormone oxytocin, new research shows.

Oxytocin,which is produced in abundance when a mother is breast-feeding her baby, is known as the "bonding" hormone.

Although there are many kinks to be worked out, experts feel the strategy holds promise to treat one of the core symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.

"When you start thinking of a hormone that can actually encourage pro-social behavior, you're talking about potentially significant changes in quality of life," said Clara Lajonchere, a vice president of clinical programs at the advocacy group Autism Speaks and a clinical assistant professor at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California.

"In the absence of intellectual deficits, the areas where they have the greatest struggle is around social communication and social connectedness," she continued. "These people can't interpret other people's perceptions, they can't read social cues, they don't make eye contact."

While there are drugs for the secondary symptoms of autism, such as irritability and aggression, doctors have nothing yet for the core symptoms in the areas of language, social interaction and intellectual deficits.

Prior studies have shown a strong effect of oxytocin on people with autism, as well as on people who are not on the autism disorders spectrum. One study found that autistic people seem to have a lower sensitivity to oxytocin than people without the disorder.

"There's no doubt that oxytocin has a big effect on social interactions in anyone. It's almost like a designer drug, a drug which has a selective effect on a behavior in the normal range," said Keith Young, vice chairman of research in psychiatry and behavioral science at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine in Temple and the neuroimaging and genetics core leader at the VA Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System.

This study, from a team of French researchers publishing in this week's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, involved 13 adults, most of them men, aged 17 to 39. All had high-functioning autism or Asperger's syndrome.

Participants performed different tasks -- either after inhaling oxytocin or without using the hormone.

When observed playing a virtual ball game, individuals who had inhaled oxytocin were able to interact better with their virtual partners compared to untreated participants.

Also, after inhaling oxytocin, participants showed more alertness to socially important visual cues in pictures of human faces.

There were, however, wide variations in individual responses, the team noted.

"It's not clear whether this would be effective at all in children or in young adults who had intellectual problems," warned Young.

The long-term effects of the hormone are also uncertain.

"I really want to encourage clinical trials in this area because of its potential significance, but we have to be very careful in terms of safety data," Lajonchere said. "Safety data is really critical."

Also, scientists would need to come up with a different method of delivery, Young said.

"The nasal [inhaled] drugs only work for a few minutes. Potentially it would be very difficult to be using this drug once an hour or something. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense," he pointed out. "But it does point the way to the possibility of raising oxytocin levels with other kinds of compounds to increase oxytocin levels more generally over a longer period of time. I don't know whether this is a realistic therapy as we have it now but, potentially, in the future it could really help these people whose primary autistic symptoms are having to do with reduction in social activity."

More information

For more on autism, visit the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.



SOURCES: Clara Lajonchere, Ph.D., vice president, clinical programs, Autism Speaks, and clinical assistant professor, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California; Keith Young, Ph.D., vice chairman, research in psychiatry and behavioral science, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, Temple, and neuroimaging and genetics core leader, VA Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans, Central Texas Veterans Health Care System; Feb. 15-19, 2010, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Four Unique Gifts for Expectant Moms Includes New Technology That Enhances Pre-Natal Bonding
2. Hormone May Prevent Aggressive Breast Cancer
3. Pioneering Hormone Therapist to Host Free Health Seminar
4. Experts Issue Warning on Prostate Hormone Therapy
5. Stress Hormone Could Be Key to Alcoholism
6. Treating Low Growth Hormone in Childhood May Thwart Later Ills
7. New human reproductive hormone could lead to novel contraceptives
8. Fat Hormone May Protect Against Alzheimers
9. More blood vessels in hormone-resistant prostate tumors
10. Prostate Hormone Therapy May Up Heart Risks
11. Protein from pregnancy hormone may prevent breast cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/26/2017)... YORK, NY (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2017 ... ... Board (SAB) met this week to review more than eighty-nine grant submissions ... experienced and emerging young scientists in the Parkinson’s field.     , The American Parkinson ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... May 26, 2017 , ... A new analysis of ... the healthiest seniors are located in the Midwest. With the average cost of healthcare ... people are concerned with both the quality and affordability of where they live. An ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... 26, 2017 , ... Yisrayl Hawkins, Pastor and Overseer at The House of ... on the Peace Agreements being discussed by President Donald Trump and the rest of ... try to speed up peace talks in the continuous battle between Israel and Palestine. ...
(Date:5/26/2017)... ... ... FLINTHILLS FAMILY-Our Journey to the Cross”: the personal journey of Bob Massey and his faith ... published authors, Bob and Margaret Massey. Bob Massey is small in stature but big ... tough." His love for others is apparent in all of his life decisions. ...
(Date:5/24/2017)... N.J. (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2017 , ... ... Clara Maass Medical Center CEO Mary Ellen, hospital employees, and town officials to ... Belleville. , The facility was developed by Rendina as part of its ongoing ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/6/2017)... Provista , a proven leader in the supply chain industry ... Jim Cunniff as the company,s new president and CEO. ... Provista, including most recently serving as the president and CEO ... He assumed his new role with Provista on May 1, ... says Jody Hatcher , president, Sourcing and Collaboration Services ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... 2017  Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: HRC), has begun ... feet to its Welch Allyn campus. ... bring more than 100 new jobs to ... maintained a significant presence for more than 100 years. ... a large portion of which will be R&D and ...
(Date:5/4/2017)... May 4, 2017  A recent study published ... Ultraviolet-C light as a means of disinfection ... to reduce bioburden on anesthesia workstations. In the ... high-touch, complex medical equipment surfaces contaminated with three ... "This study further validates the body of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: