Brain Function In Autism Improves With Oxytocin

Results from research reveals that oxytocin, a substance made naturally in the brain as well as through the entire body, enhanced brain function in areas which have been identified as processing social information in kids having autism spectrum disorders.

According to the researchers, the results provide crucial steps toward developing better solutions for treating the core social deficits found in autism, which could include clinical interventions combined with oxytocin. This kind of treatment method will essentially improve the understanding of autism along with its treatment.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can have a huge emotional and financial burden on the affected person, their families, as well as society, and a core characteristic of autism is social communicative dysfunction.

Although a lot of progress has been accomplished in the research of autism, there are hardly any effective treatments and not one that directly targets the core social dysfunction. Oxytocin has received interest for its involvement in the regulation of social abilities due to its role in numerous aspects of social cognition and social behavior in humans as well as other species.

To evaluate the effect of oxytocin on brain function, the scientists carried out a study on children aged 7 – 18 having autism spectrum disorders. They gave the kids just one dosage of oxytocin inside a nasal spray and monitored its effect making use of functional magnetic resonance brain imaging.

They discovered that oxytocin enhanced activations in brain areas known for processing social information. These brain activations were related to tasks concerned with multiple social information processing routes, like hearing, seeing, and the process of information relevant to understanding others.

What Is Autism Infographic

Image Source: nspt4kids

References: DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1312857110