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Neuropsychopharmacology. 2003 Jan;28(1):193-8.

Oxytocin infusion reduces repetitive behaviors in adults with autistic and Asperger's disorders.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Seaver Autism Research Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA. eric.hollander@mssm.edu

Abstract

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by dysfunction in three core behavioral domains: repetitive behaviors, social deficits, and language abnormalities. There is evidence that abnormalities exist in peptide systems, particularly the oxytocin system, in autism spectrum patients. Furthermore, oxytocin and the closely related peptide vasopressin are known to play a role in social and repetitive behaviors. This study examined the impact of oxytocin on repetitive behaviors in 15 adults with autism or Asperger's disorder via randomized double-blind oxytocin and placebo challenges. The primary outcome measure was an instrument rating six repetitive behaviors: need to know, repeating, ordering, need to tell/ask, self-injury, and touching. Patients with autism spectrum disorders showed a significant reduction in repetitive behaviors following oxytocin infusion in comparison to placebo infusion. Repetitive behavior in autism spectrum disorders may be related to abnormalities in the oxytocin system, and may be partially ameliorated by synthetic oxytocin infusion.

PMID:
12496956
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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