Could Oxytocin be a Possible Cure for Autism? Maybe Not!

BY

Known for its benefic properties, oxytocin is a molecule that helps mothers during childbirth and subsequently to take care of the baby during the nursing period. It helps newbie moms to bond with their babies and to develop maternal instincts. Usually, in individuals, oxytocin is also known as the “happiness molecule” which brings in self-confidence and attention towards another person.

The Oxytocin Molecule - a potential treatment for Autism
The Oxytocin Molecule – a potential treatment for Autism

 

Oxytocin helps women during childbirth and to bond with babies
Oxytocin helps women during childbirth and to bond with their babies

Due to these properties, oxytocin was used in several studies to determine how it may improve autism spectrum disorder symptoms. Larry Young, from the Department of Psychiatry Emory University School of Medicine, provided some explanations to the media regarding the evolution of these studies.

As an initial step, the team in charge of this research created a nasal spray that could easily be inhaled by autistic children before going to school. Then, they devised a method that involved the administration of oxytocin as a drug.

Unfortunately, these research failed in its objective since the subjects reacted differently to these clinical trials. The nasal spray effects did not last all day and it was, at times, associated with bad experiences. Additionally, given the complexities associated with the various types of autism and the varying degree of genetic and social impairments that each child suffers, the one-size-fits-all nasal spray approach did not work. Implicitly, not every child will react in the same way as a response to a certain treatment.

Due to these findings discovered so far, Young believes that oxytocin supplements need to be complemented with behavioral therapy sessions in order to provide the expected results. According to Larry, “We think targeting the oxytocin system when it’s combined with therapy will allow the child’s brain to pay more attention to the therapy and gain more out of it.

Young requested parents not to jump the gun and get too excited about the prospect of oxytocin being a potential cure for Autism. Parents of autistic children tend to keep track of evolving studies in this area with the hope that a new method of autism treatment is just around the corner. Young warned parents not to jump to premature conclusions as the findings on the effectiveness of oxytocin for autism treatment is still inconclusive.

There’s a history in autism research where whenever there is something that shows positive effects, many parents get all excited and want to try it for themselves. What we want to bring out is that while there is a lot of potential, there still are a lot of caveats and we’re not at the point where you can just walk to the pharmacy and get this supplement for your child“.

On the other hand, they should not lose their faith because Dr. Young and his team are working now on another promising study and are optimistic regarding the findings they will encounter. He recommended to the parents to maintain their level of optimism while exercising a bit of concern.

click here to discuss topic

2 thoughts on “Could Oxytocin be a Possible Cure for Autism? Maybe Not!”

  1. I do not know a whole lot about this form of treatment, but I can share some information that I do know of with you.


    I know there has been some research done that has shown benefits from a five-week oxytocin autism treatment. You are correct with the name. It is a synthetic hormone.

    It has been shown to greatly help children with Autism by substantially improving social, emotional, and behavioral problems they may exhibit.

    It was shown that a twice daily dose of oxytocin nasal spray helped children be more socially responsive with minimal side effects. The side effects were as marginals such as little less urination, increased thirst, and constipation.

    The research isn’t clear as to how long the treatment will last in its effects it seems either. A five week treatment is shown to help, but a more longitudinal study is what I would be most satisfied with.
    In previous research, Oxytocin had been shown in humans to improve eye gaze, recognition of emotions, and memory. The study that was done was the first to show improvement specifically for children with Autism. More research needs to be done in this area.

    There are definitely a group of scientists and researchers that believe there is great potential for this method of treatment. Wouldn’t it be great if a simple nasal spray would help children diagnosed with Autism to function better through life?

    Though, my personal opinion is that manipulating hormones can be a tricky game too, so I would choose to wait until there is more research conducted. I would do this to make sure, as you already mentioned, that the benefits outweigh the negatives and any potential side effects. I would also want to make sure that there are no possible long term side effects, something that is not seen right away and might take a couple of years (or more) show up.

    Long story short, I would rather wait n watch for a while before recommending oxytocin autism treatment to anyone:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

    Here however is an independent opinion on the same subject:

    Reply
  2. I’ve heard about a hormone treatment for Autism, I think it’s the same as this oxytocin autism treatment? What is it exactly? I can’t imagine giving extra hormones of any kind to my son or daughter. They are twins and both have Autism Spectrum Disorder to differing degrees. My son is higher functioning than my daughter, but they both have significant difficulties socially. Additionally, my daughter faces the day to day challenges that are typical to girls with autism.

    How do you administer this oxytocin autism treatment and how long does it take to work? What benefits does it have exactly? It just seems too odd to me to give hormone treatment to kids.

    Does it really help? How long would they have to take it for the treatment to work long term?

    Are there any side effects? If so, do the benefits outweigh the negative side effects? How do the hormones actually work? Will it affect their brains or their bodies?

    Does the oxytocin autism treatment work by itself or do you need other alternative treatments or therapies at the same time?

    My kids are only 7 and I worry a lot about all the different kinds of things people suggest to help and don’t know what actually really works or not. And, I especially worry if there are possible side effects.

    Can you help me know a little more to be able to figure it out?

    Reply

Leave a Comment