Using Oxytocin as a Therapy For Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

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Alisha Babu


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a disorder with many symptoms ranging from a lack of social skills and communication torepetitive actions and behaviors. The disorder is characterized by a large spectrum, making it difficult to diagnose, due to thewide variety of symptoms it can portray in affected people. ASD poses a challenge on a worldwide scale due to lack ofinformation regarding causes or curative treatment. Though there are no acknowledged cures, there are many types oftherapies for children with ASD - all aimed at improving their symptoms (“Autism spectrum disorder”, 2022). One possibletreatment option that is being researched is ‘Oxytocin Therapy’. Oxytocin therapy utilizes oxytocin -a hormone/chemicalmessenger that promotes qualities of recognition, trust, and bonding which leads to its positive enforcement of socialinteractions in people (DeAngelis, 2008). These qualities are what led to the development of a hypothesis that this hormonecould be administered in a therapeutic form to improve the social functioning in those diagnosed with ASD (Ford, n.d.). Thisneuropeptide is administered intranasally and has been researched mostly in young children and teenagers. The results fromthese studies prove to be controversial as they display both positive as well as negative findings. Hence, further researchneeds to be conducted on oxytocin therapy before a comprehensible conclusion can be made on its outcome.

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Author Biography

Alisha Babu, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

My name is Alisha, and I am a sophomore majoring in brain and cognitive sciences as well as minoring in chemistry and psychology. My major allows me to learn how intelligent systems work and this includes intelligent computer systems. I get to intertwine subjects of psychology with cs and learn how they can be used together to understand the world of artificial intelligence and the idea of "what is a mind". I am also a research assistant in the Brain and Cognitive Development lab where we study the basic perceptual and cognitive abilities one is born with. We observe the development in children which can inform us on how early brain organization can inform theories of conceptual development. My personal interests in research delve into neurodivergent disorders such Austism Spectrum Disorder in children and what could possibly be utilized as a therapy for them.