The Relaxation Response, Your Genes and Oxytocin
The Monogamy Gene

NIH: More Studies of Oxytocin for Autism

The National Institutes of Mental Health Strategic Plan for ASD Research is ready for public comment, two years after congress re-established the the Interagency Coordinating Committee (IACC) and required that the IACC develop and annually update a strategic plan for ASD research.

You can read the draft of the strategic plan yourself. It includes  not only treatment options, but also important issues such as estate planning, so that an adult on the spectrum who can't function independently can be sure of  getting the care and support he or she needs.

The plan has a pretty succinct summary of treatment options, and it does mention oxytocin as something that needs further study.  Here's  the entirety:

Medications to improve some of the symptoms associated with autism have been studied. However, thus far, no medication has been shown in controlled trials to enhance social behavior or communication. In 2006, risperidone became the first Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved pharmacologic therapy for certain symptoms of autism.
August 15, 2008 Draft for Public Comment.
Budgetary requirements not included pending IACC discussion in November 2008. - 17 -
First introduced in 1993 as medication used to treat symptoms of schizophrenia, risperidone has now been shown to be effective as a treatment of irritability and aggression seen in some children with ASD. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have had mixed results in decreasing certain repetitive and stereotyped behaviors (Kolevzon et al., 2006). Other biological and pharmacological treatments that have been investigated in small studies and may warrant fuller attention include omega-3 fatty acids, memantine, oxytocin, and pioglitazone (Ammiger et al., 2007; Chez et al., 2007; Hollander et al., 2007; Boris et al., 2007)

Short-term research goals mentioned include testing widely used treatments that haven't been studied in a controlled way; conducting five trials of interventions for infants and toddlers by  2011; and  three randomized studies of treatments for  school-aged kids by 2012.

I wonder if Eric Hollander and his team at Mt. Sinai Hospital, the group that showed improvements in communication in adults after treatment with oxytocin, will be able to nab a grant under this program.

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