Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Single spray of oxytocin improves brain function in children with autism, study suggests

Date:
December 2, 2013
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
A single dose of the hormone oxytocin, delivered via nasal spray, may improve the core social deficits in children with autism by making social interactions with other people more rewarding and more efficiently processed, researchers report.

A single dose of the hormone oxytocin, delivered via nasal spray, has been shown to enhance brain activity while processing social information in children with autism spectrum disorders.
Credit: Dmitry Naumov / Fotolia

A single dose of the hormone oxytocin, delivered via nasal spray, has been shown to enhance brain activity while processing social information in children with autism spectrum disorders, Yale School of Medicine researchers report in a new study published in the Dec. 2 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"This is the first study to evaluate the impact of oxytocin on brain function in children with autism spectrum disorders," said first author Ilanit Gordon, a Yale Child Study Center adjunct assistant professor, whose colleagues on the study included senior author Kevin Pelphrey, the Harris Professor in the Child Study Center, and director of the Center for Translational Developmental Neuroscience at Yale.

Gordon, Pelphrey, and their colleagues conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 17 children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. The participants, between the ages of 8 and 16.5, were randomly given either oxytocin spray or a placebo nasal spray during a task involving social judgments. Oxytocin is naturally occurring hormone produced in the brain and throughout the body.

"We found that brain centers associated with reward and emotion recognition responded more during social tasks when children received oxytocin instead of the placebo," said Gordon. "Oxytocin temporarily normalized brain regions responsible for the social deficits seen in children with autism."

Gordon said oxytocin facilitated social attunement, a process that makes the brain regions involved in social behavior and social cognition activate more for social stimuli (such as faces) and activate less for non-social stimuli (such as cars).

"Our results are particularly important considering the urgent need for treatments to target social dysfunction in autism spectrum disorders," Gordon added.

Other authors on the study include Brent C. Vander Wyk, Randi H. Bennett, Cara Cordeaux Zagoory-Sharon, James F. Leckman, and Ruth Feldman.

The study was funded by a Harris Family Professorship to Pelphrey; a Lee Foundation Postdoctoral Award to Gordon; and a grant from the Binational Science Foundation to Feldman, Pelphrey, Gordon, and Leckman.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. The original article was written by Karen N. Peart. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ilanit Gordon, Brent C. Vander Wyk, Randi H. Bennett, Cara Cordeaux, Molly V. Lucas, Jeffrey A. Eilbott, Orna Zagoory-Sharon, James F. Leckman, Ruth Feldman, and Kevin A. Pelphrey. Oxytocin enhances brain function in children with autism. PNAS, December 2, 2013 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1312857110

Cite This Page:

Yale University. "Single spray of oxytocin improves brain function in children with autism, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 December 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202162115.htm>.
Yale University. (2013, December 2). Single spray of oxytocin improves brain function in children with autism, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202162115.htm
Yale University. "Single spray of oxytocin improves brain function in children with autism, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/12/131202162115.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Do Obese Women Have 'Food Learning Impairment'?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) Yale researchers tested 135 men and women, and it was only obese women who were deemed to have "impaired associative learning." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Does Mixing Alcohol and Energy Drinks Boost Urge To Drink?

Newsy (July 18, 2014) A new study suggests that mixing alcohol with energy drinks makes you want to keep the party going. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

Pot Cooking Class Teaches Responsible Eating

AP (July 18, 2014) Following the nationwide trend of eased restrictions on marijuana use, pot edibles are growing in popularity. One Boston-area cooking class is teaching people how to eat pot responsibly. (July 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins