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Spectrum: Autism Research News

Tag: oxytocin

June 2011

Molecular mechanisms: Autism linked to small hypothalamus

by  /  17 June 2011

Children with autism have less brain matter than normal in a region that synthesizes the social hormones oxytocin and vasopressin, according to a study published 29 April in Biological Psychiatry.

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Molecular mechanisms: Metabolic changes increase risk of autism

by  /  8 June 2011

Children with autism have fewer DNA modifications that regulate gene expression compared with healthy siblings and controls, and show evidence of DNA damage, according to a study published 26 April in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

April 2011

Maternal stress alters behavior of generations

by  /  18 April 2011

Early trauma alters both behavior and gene expression in three generations of mice, suggesting that epigenetic changes may contribute to ‘hidden heritability’ in neuropsychiatric disorders.

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February 2011

Cognition and behavior: Serotonin pathway affects mouse behavior

by  /  22 February 2011

Mice that lack the gene for integrin β3, or ITGB3 — which regulates the levels of serotonin in the blood — groom themselves frequently and show less interest in stranger mice compared with controls, according to a study published in February in Autism Research as part of a special issue on mouse models in autism.

November 2010

Prairie vole study finds new drug that boosts oxytocin

by  /  15 November 2010

A drug already in clinical trials as a tanning compound raises brain levels of oxytocin — a hormone and neurotransmitter involved in social bonding — researchers reported Sunday at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego. Higher levels of oxytocin can help animals recognize their mates and turn to a friend for help, according to two posters presented at the meeting.


Cognition and behavior: Oxytocin improves sensitivity to social cues

by  /  11 November 2010

Oxytocin may activate the mirror neuron system — a group of neurons that is active when people empathize with others — according to a paper published in the November Psychoneuroendocrinology.


Uncharted territory

by  /  1 November 2010

Drug companies have been curiously reluctant to dive into research on therapies for autism. The chief of Pfizer’s new autism research unit explains why.

October 2010

Reassuring restrictions

by  /  8 October 2010

Only people who already have social impairment benefit from oxytocin, researchers say.

August 2010

Beware the hype

by  /  18 August 2010

If you believe the hype about oxytocin, it’s nothing short of a wonder drug: it can make you trust a stranger, enhance a mother’s bond with her child and, according to a study published earlier this year, improve social skills in individuals with autism. But look more closely, and there is ample cause for caution.

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Kevin Pelphrey: Charting the course of the social brain

by  /  17 August 2010

With robust training in developmental psychology and a techie’s fervor for new tools, Kevin Pelphrey is systematically investigating how the brain changes during development — starting in infants as young as 6 weeks old.