Autism & oxytocin

Oxytocin enhances brain function in children with autism
PNAS. December 24, 2013. 110(52)
Ilanit Gordon

This article presents our discovery that intranasal administration of oxytocin enhances activity in the brain for socially meaningful stimuli and attenuates its response to nonsocially meaningful stimuli in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as measured via functional MRI. We also identified a relationship between changes in salivary oxytocin following administration and enhancements in brain function.

These discoveries are particularly important given the urgent need for treatments that target the core social dysfunction in ASD. The functional neural attunement we demonstrated might facilitate social learning, thus potentially bringing about long-term change in neural systems and subsequent behavioral improvements.
Our results illustrate the power of a translational neuroscience approach to facilitate the development of pharmacological interventions for neurodevelopmental disorders like ASD.

Promoting social behavior with oxytocin …
PNAS February 16, 2010