Friday, June 13, 2008

A Link Between Oxytocin in Labor & Autism?

For nearly 8 years, researchers have been examining oxytocin's capability of crossing the maternal placenta and oxytocin's possibility of crossing an underdeveloped or stressed infantile blood brain barrier at birth, a causal connection between oxytocin excess and behavioral disorders such as autism can be supported from a molecular perspective.

Researchers have done experiments in lab animals, tracing the administration of radioactive oxytocin crossing such "barriers". "Barriers" may not be the right term, as it indicates the fact that there may be obstacles. Few obstacles if any exist in the placenta or blood brain areas.

Conversely, treatment of autism can sometimes include oxytocin!

A 1998 study found significantly lower levels of oxytocin in blood plasma of autistic children. A 2003 study found a decrease in autism spectrum repetitive behaviors when oxytocin was administered intravenously. A 2007 study reported that oxytocin helped autistic adults retain the ability to evaluate the emotional significance of speech intonation.

Clearly, we NEED to explore completely the risks/benefits of medications given to laboring human mothers BEFORE adding them to the routine.

Modahl C, Green L, Fein D et al. (1998). "Plasma oxytocin levels in autistic children". Biol Psychiatry 43 (4): 270–7.

Hollander E, Novotny S, Hanratty M et al. (2003). "Oxytocin infusion reduces repetitive behaviors in adults with autistic and Asperger's disorders". Neuropsychopharmacology 28 (1): 193–8.

Hollander E, Bartz J, Chaplin W et al. (2007). "Oxytocin increases retention of social cognition in autism". Biol Psychiatry 61 (4): 498–503.

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