Oxytocin, the Brain, and Autism

Jul 30 2012
Jul 30 2013
America/New York
Yale Child Study Center


To examine how the hormone Oxytocin impacts social-communication, social behavior, and brain functioning in children and adolescents with ASD. Participants will come to the Child Neuroscience Lab at Yale for two visits accompanied by a parent/guardian. During one visit they will receive a single administration of Oxytocin in nasal spray form, and during the other a placebo nasal spray will be administered. Participants will then be asked to have a conversation with their parent about a fun activity they’ve had – this conversation will allow us to examine how oxytocin impacts social communication. Participants will then have a 30-minute magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan while watching a series of movies and viewing pictures. 

Criteria for Participation:
We are looking for children and adolescents ages 7-18 years old, who have been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder to participate in this research study. We will also need a parent to accompany them. Participants need to be in good medical health and must speak English as their first language. All participants must meet MRI safety and Oxytocin administration eligibility.

Research Components:

  • Oxytocin/placebo nasal spray
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan
  • Saliva collection for genetic and hormone analyses
  • Parent-Child /Adolescent Interactions

For more information about eligibility and participating, contact the Yale Autism Program's Research Intake Coordinator, Erin MacDonnell at (203) 737-3439.

Visit http://childstudycenter.yale.edu/autism/research/brain-imaging.aspx to learn more about brain imaging studies.

To learn more about what it's like to participate in an MRI, please visit http://www.yale.edu/cnl/