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Oxytocin and autism
Andari, Elissar Institute for Cognitive Science, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Bron, France.
Sirigu, Angela Institute for Cognitive Science, Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, Bron, France.
- Oxytocin as a key facilitator for life
- Oxytocin and social deficits
- Oxytocin promotes social comprehension
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The capacity to interact with others in complex social situations constitutes one of the key elements of our daily life. Patients suffering from high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (HF-ASDs) are not capable of interacting spontaneously with others in social situations, despite their normal intellectual abilities. They avoid eye contact and have difficulties in understanding the intentions of others. Autism is classified as a pervasive developmental disorder because symptoms emerge early in infancy, or perhaps from birth, affecting many aspects of cognition and behavior. Many studies have investigated autism, covering several domains of research: neuroscience, genetics, neurobiology, and the social sciences. However, there are still no promising cures for autism. Recently, one uniquely mammalian hormone, oxytocin, which probably evolved along with parturition and lactation approximately 200 million years ago, has attracted considerable attention because of its potential use in the treatment of autism. There has been much research exploring the link between oxytocin and autism at the genetic and behavioral levels, especially because researchers reported that children with autism had reduced levels of oxytocin in their plasma as compared to age-matched controls. This has opened an interesting avenue of investigation for the treatment of autism. Thus, what is oxytocin?
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