Roundup: Inhalers for Autism, Teen Moods & Weight
> 2/28/2010 7:21:53 PM

Mild autism might be best treated by inhaler. A hormone known to promote matronly bonding appears to help some kids with high-functioning autism to better interact with teachers, parents and peers. Oxytocin is a neurotransmitter associated with reproductive functions like breastfeeding and the intimate physical relationship between mother and child, and autistic children have significantly lower levels of it. A small study found that kids with Asperger's syndrome, who usually avoid looking people in the eye, were able to pay close attention to images of human faces after using an oxytocin inhaler. In another test, kids who used the oxytocin scored higher on tests where they had to interact with a computer program. The subject group was extremely small, so the ultimate effects of the treatment have not even begun to be observed. But it's certainly an interesting development.

The hormonal flushes of depression have been linked to weight gain in adolescent girls. Of course this isn't the first time that stress, depression and obesity have been named together in an unhealthy trifecta, but the chemical connection between the three has been uncovered. The production of cortisol, a hormone responsible for regulating metabolic processes, usually speeds up during high-stress periods. This chemical surge interferes with the body's ability to process foods effectively and can, over extended periods, lead to weight gain. Researchers who sampled the saliva of more than 100 teens for cortisol after giving them various stress tests and measuring their BMIs found that cortisol reactivity, which has been closely tied to mood, was the most influential factor in determining whether or not they were obese. It's still not clear exactly why this trend only applied to girls, but the findings seem to conclude once and for all that depression does, in fact, increase the likelihood of eventual obesity.

No comments yet.

Post Your Comments

Post a comment
Email Address:
Verification Code:
Input the 8 characters you see above:


Drug Abuse
Sexual Addiction
Eating Disorders
Alzheimer's Disease

About TOL | Contact Us | Defining Behavioral Fitness | For Healthcare Professionals | Links | Privacy Policy