Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Oxytocin ameliorates autism symptoms

Researchers have been closing in on a relationship between autism and oxytocin, and now some researchers have administered oxytocin to some Aspergers kids and then watched their behavior during ball games and during facial expression recognition tests.

  • Under oxytocin, the autistic kids were able to play a game where they had to figure out which  game partner was most cooperative and return a ball to them. Under a placebo, they returned the ball randomly. 
  • Under oxytocin, they looked at photographs of faces, looking specifically at the eyes. Under a placebo, they looked away. 
I wonder if you could put oxytocin in an inhaler. It's good for so many things, it would be a commercial hit.

I'm not really serious about that, but I do expect in not too long for there to be a cure for autism. If not oxytocin, something else. There are a lot of really smart people working on this, and there are so many clues, and there's a lot of grant money to let the smart people pursue the clues. If not this decade, then the next.

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