Oxytocin: The “Just Right” Chemical?
Lately I keep finding articles in the news about the importance of oxytocin. Our bodies release this neurotransmitter naturally from the hypothalamus through touch, warmth and/or close proximity to someone with whom we feel a deep connection. Often considered the antidote for our sympathetic nervous system, it can help lower stress and reduce the flight or fight response and promote a sense of well-being. Several universities
have been conducting studies on the use of supplemental oxytocin with children with autism and the results look promising. The latest update comes from a Yale study
which used functional MRIs to measure brain function after the subjects received oxytocin via a nasal spray. Preliminary findings seem to indicate increased activation in the brain regions associated with processing social and sensory information. So given this new information, does this help support what we have often seen anecdotally for years ....that proprioceptive input can help our kids along the spectrum stay calm/feel better and so interact more appropriately? Are there other studies that address this connection? As we continue to strive toward a more Evidence Based Practice approach I look forward to your input!