Oxytocin And Autism
Doctor Larry Young discusses evidence of a relationship between oxytocin and autism, speculating that oxytocin may be used to treat autism.
Our work in animals shows that oxytocin, for example, is really involved in activating the brainâ€™s social circuitry, in promoting social interactions [and] engagement with others. In autism, that system is really disabled. The autistic individuals have difficulty interacting with others, they have difficulty interpreting social cues, processing social information. They are less motivated to engage in social interactions and eye contact and things of that nature. So one possibility is that perhaps given oxytocinâ€™s role in promoting social interactions, that maybe in autism there is a disruption in the oxytocin system. There is some evidence of that; for example, autistic individuals have been shown to have decreased oxytocin levels in their plasma compared to non-autistic individuals. That was a single paper, but it sort of suggested that it could be important. There are also other genetic studies that have found associations between differences in the oxytocin receptor gene and individuals with autism. So the genetic oxytocin system may contribute to the behavioral differences. But even if the oxytocin system is not an explanation for autism, perhaps it could be a therapy because if oxytocin promotes social engagement, promotes social cognition, then perhaps in individuals who have disrupted social engagement such as in autism, you could alleviate some of that by driving the oxytocin system. For example, if you had a drug that could activate the oxytocin receptors in the reward areas, maybe you could give that to autistic individuals and it would make it such that social interactions were actually rewarding to them and promoting behavior.
autism, oxytocin, receptor, autistic, social, treatment, cause, larry, young
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2377. Oxytocin, Emotion, and Autism
Doctor Larry Young discusses how taking oxytocin may increase trust and affect social abilities in humans. This may be a future treatment for autism.
1371. Oxytocin (OXT) Gene
Oxytocin (OXT) is a gene that plays a role in social behaviors in many species. Oxytocin dysfunction may be a cause for autism.
2378. Neuropeptides Influence Social Bonds
Doctor Larry Young explains that social personality traits are influenced by levels of oxytocin and vasopressin in the brain.
2384. Dopamine, Oxytocin, Rewards, and Bonding
Doctor Larry Young discusses how dopamine and oxytocin interact in the reward and reinforcement parts of the brain to help form social bonds.
2383. The Reward System includes Vasopressin and Oxytocin
Doctor Larry Young discusses how vasopressin and oxytocin contribute to the reward system, which can promote behavior such as bonding and drug addiction.
883. Treating Autism
Exploring the possiblities of 'bringing back' the brain of a child with autism.
2379. Social Differences Wired Into DNA
Doctor Larry Young explains that the genes that encode for vasopressin receptors can predict social behaviors. This intriguing finding makes the link between genes, the brain and behavior.
884. Background to Autism
Autism is a disorder in brain development that becomes apparent in earliest childhood. It is defined by problems in socialization, communication, and repetitive behaviors.
2375. Drug Addiction and Bonding
Doctor Larry Young discusses his research with prairie voles and suggests that the same neurobiological processes may underlie drug addiction and bonding.
2385. The Neurobiology of Love
Doctor Larry Young discusses that he believes there is a biological basis to love.