Friday, December 08, 2006

Autism cure?

Caught this brief report on Fox 'n Friends previously

Autism Cure? Pregnancy Hormone Offers New Hope
Thursday, December 07, 2006 By Dr. Manny Alvarez


This week, a new study presented at the meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, conducted by Dr. Eric Hollander and Jennifer Bartz of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, offered some new encouragement. In the study, adult patients with autism were given Pitocin, the pharmaceutical name for oxytocin, a naturally occuring hormone in the brain that women are often given during childbirth to speed and regulate contractions.

In its simplest explanation, autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can impair, to varying degrees of severity, a child's socialization--to communicate through language, to experience or express emotions, or to connect emotionally with other people or the world around him or her. Studies have linked oxytocin (not to be confused with the addictive painkiller oxycontin) in altering the pathways of social behavior in animals, and is believed to contribute to the intense feelings of bonding that new mothers feel toward their babies. The autistic adult subjects in the study who received Pitocin retained their ability to asses emotions, and showed a reduction of repetitive behaviors, which is one of the hallmarks of autistic spectrum disorders.

The clear implication of the study is that we are getting closer to understanding some of the chemical pathways of behavior, and getting closer to a possible cure for autism.,2933,234958,00.html

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