Article

Nasal oxytocin for social deficits in childhood autism: A randomized controlled trial.

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (Impact Factor: 3.34). 06/2013;

ABSTRACT

Background: The last two decades have witnessed a surge in research investigating the application of oxytocin as a method of enhancing social behaviour in humans. Preliminary evidence suggests oxytocin may have potential as an intervention for autism.
Methods: We evaluated a 5-day ‘live-in’ intervention using a double-blind randomized control trial. 38 male youths (7–16 years old) with autism spectrum disorders were administered 24IU or 12IU (depending on weight) intranasal placebo or oxytocin once daily over four consecutive days. The oxytocin or placebo was administered during parent-child interaction training sessions. Parent and child behaviours were assessed using parent reports, clinician ratings, and independent observations, at multiple time points to measure side-effects; social interaction skills; repetitive behaviours; emotion recognition and diagnostic status.
Results: Compared to placebo, intranasal oxytocin did not significantly improve emotion recognition, social interaction skills, or general behavioral adjustment in male youths with autism spectrum disorders.
Conclusions: The results show that the benefits of nasal oxytocin for young individuals with autism spectrum disorders may be more circumscribed than suggested by previous studies, and suggest caution in recommending it as an intervention that is broadly effective.

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Available from: Mark R Dadds
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    • "Importantly, in this special issue, authors raised precautions about the risks and the effects of chronic IN-OT in pediatric populations (Taylor et al., 2014, this issue). A few chronic IN-OT studies have shown that it is safe in young (7–18 years old) and adult populations but with ambiguous social outcomes (Anagnostou et al., 2012; Tachibana et al., 2013; Dadds et al., 2014; Guastella et al., 2015). Recently, it has been shown that stimulating the oxytocin system endogenously with melanocortin-4 receptor agonist (Barrett et al., 2014; Modi et al., 2015) or MDMA (Dumont et al., 2009) is promising but also needs more investigation. "

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    • "While the Parker et al. study is commendable in its dimensional/correlative approach, one must guard against an ''affirming the consequent'' error in logic and determine whether oxytocin is cause, consequence, or spurious correlative of altered social functioning (Richters 1997). Several promising studies using intranasal OT to treat ASD-associated symptoms have been reported (reviewed in Anagnostou et al. 2014; Preti et al. 2004), although a recent large study did not observe benefits of sub-acute intranasal oxytocin (Dadds et al. 2014). "
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    • "While the Parker et al. study is commendable in its dimensional/correlative approach, one must guard against an ''affirming the consequent'' error in logic and determine whether oxytocin is cause, consequence, or spurious correlative of altered social functioning (Richters 1997). Several promising studies using intranasal OT to treat ASD-associated symptoms have been reported (reviewed in Anagnostou et al. 2014; Preti et al. 2004), although a recent large study did not observe benefits of sub-acute intranasal oxytocin (Dadds et al. 2014). "

    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
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