Scientists Gather to Discuss “Hormones of Emotion”
Translational Medicine Meeting Convenes Top Researchers in Chemistry of Emotional Regulation
Experts met last month to review recent discoveries on how the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin might regulate emotion and complex social behavior, in an Autism Speaks-sponsored gathering in Atlanta.
Oxytocin and vasopressin are two peptide hormones found in the brain and shown to participate in social behavior, stress, anxiety and affiliative behaviors including social communication. The participants represented a wide range of expertise, including scientists in genetics, molecular biology, animal behavior, clinical psychology and psychopharmacology. Panel discussions focused on translational opportunities, including pharmacological manipulation of the oxytocin and vasopressin systems in the human brain.
As the oxytocin and vasopressin systems have been linked to social and emotional bonding and social cognitive behaviors in animal models, this system is of particular interest to autism research. Autism Speaks helped sponsor the meeting in order to promote interdisciplinary and translational research in autism spectrum disorders.
Research presented by meeting organizer Larry Young of Emory University focused on the social behaviors of animals that show small changes in the DNA sequence for the vasopressin receptor, which is related to different social behaviors. These “microsatellites” may explain why the expression of social behavior and social affiliation is so variable between species.
Other research findings presented by Sue Carter, Colin Ingram, and Inga Newmann highlighted findings on the role of oxytocin in anxiety, social interaction, and social preference in an animal model. Pharmacological manipulation of the oxytocin and vasopressin systems in animal models has been shown to increase social behavior while demonstrating anti-anxiety effects, suggesting this system be targeted in the future for pharmaceutical intervention in autism.
Using animal models allows researchers to understand how these compounds work in the brain, which types of receptors they target, and what brain regions are most affected and may regulate the behavior. This information will provide scientists in the pharmaceutical industry to develop more specific and targeted compounds with fewer side effects and better efficacy.
In addition to studying the role of oxytocin and vasopressin in anxiety and social behaviors in an animal model, Markus Heinrichs at the University of Zurich presented his data examining the effects of intranasal oxytocin on social interactions in patients with social phobias. Oxytocin is used for a variety of clinical purposes (including lactation and childbirth), however, it has not been studied in neurological diseases.
Preliminary evidence suggests that a course of intranasal oxytocin alleviates social phobia and may slow down over-activation of brain structures which could underlie this behavior. In order to determine whether oxytocin therapy is effective in adults with autism, a study conducted by Dr. Eric Hollander and colleagues at Mount Sinai School of Medicine is examining the behavioral and neurobiological effects intraveneous and intranasal oxytocin therapy in adults with autism. Promising preliminary evidence from this study was published earlier this year in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
Finally, a genetic link to the oxytocin and vasopression system in autism was discussed by Richard Ebstein from the Hebrew University. He reported an association between mutations in the gene which codes for the vasopression receptor and clinical information obtained from the autism spectrum quotient. The panel of presenters linked basic science and genetics to disturbances in behavior and potential intervention strategies under study.
In a roundtable discussion that followed, meeting participants gathered in a ‘think tank’ to discuss the potential of new pharmaceutical agents which target the oxytocin and vasopressin system, and what sort of research would be needed to bring those drugs to the marketplace. They agreed more research should be conducted to determine how new compounds which target these systems are acting in the brain.
In addition, the need for focused partnerships between academic institutions and leaders in the pharmaceutical industry was established.
Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid.
ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.
The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t work. In study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work.
What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.
The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth.
The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome.
This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.
Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.
Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.
Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.
[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]
Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.