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Zhang R.,Peking University | Jia M.-X.,Peking University | Zhang J.-S.,Capital Medical University | Xu X.-J.,Peking University | And 6 more authors.
Research in Developmental Disabilities | Year: 2012

Acupuncture increases brain levels of arginine-vasopressin (AVP) and oxytocin (OXT), which are known to be involved in the modulation of mammalian social behavior. Transcutaneous electrical acupoint stimulation (TEAS) is often used clinically to produce a similar stimulation to that of acupuncture on the acupoints. In the present study, TEAS was applied to children with autism to assess its therapeutic efficacy. Seventy-six autistic children receiving rehabilitation training were divided into 2 groups: a treatment group receiving TEAS 30. min per day, 5 days per week for 12 weeks (. n=. 37) and a control group without TEAS treatment (. n=. 39). A series of rating scales was used in outcome assessment. Plasma levels of AVP and OXT were determined by enzyme immunoassay (EIA) before and after treatment. The TEAS group showed a significant improvement over the control in their emotional response, fear or anxiety, level/consistency of intellective relations and general impressions on the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) as well as improvements in the sensory and related factors in the Autism Behavior Checklist (ABC). In addition, the varieties of accepted food increased after TEAS treatment. It appears that TEAS was effective in autistic children who showed passive and aloof behavior, but not in those who were active but odd. The plasma level of AVP was significantly higher in the TEAS group than in the control group after the intervention. In addition, the change in the plasma AVP level paralleled the improvement of some of the behavior factors in CARS, including adaptation to environmental change, listening response, perceptive response and fear or anxiety. It is concluded that TEAS is effective for the treatment of autistic children with a passive and aloof social interaction style. Changes in plasma levels of AVP and possibly OXT may be involved in mediating the therapeutic effect of TEAS. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Xu X.-J.,Peking University | Shou X.-J.,Peking University | Li J.,Peking University | Jia M.-X.,Peking University | And 7 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Background:Autism is a pervasive neurodevelopmental disorder,thought to be caused by a combination of genetic heritability and environmental risk factors. Some autistic-like traits have been reported in mothers of autistic children. We hypothesized that dysregulation of oxytocin (OXT), Arg-vasopressin (AVP) and sex hormones, found in autistic children, may also exist in their mothers.Methods:We determined plasma levels of OXT (40 in autism vs. 26 in control group), AVP (40 vs. 17) and sex hormones (61 vs. 47) in mothers of autistic and normal children by enzyme immunoassay and radioimmunoassay, respectively and investigated their relationships with the children's autistic behavior scores (Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) and Autism Behavior Checklist (ABC)).Results:Significantly lower plasma concentrations of OXT (p<0.001) and AVP (p<0.001), as well as a higher level of plasma testosterone (p<0.05), were found in mothers of autistic children vs. those of control. The children's autistic behavior scores were negatively associated with maternal plasma levels of OXT and AVP.Conclusions:These results suggest that dysregulation of OXT, AVP and/or testosterone systems exist in mothers of autistic children, which may impact children's susceptibility to autism. © 2013 Xu et al. Source

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