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Is anyone going to be listening to the Radio 4 thing about autism and oxytocin at 9 tonight?

(48 Posts)
MrsTwgtwf Wed 17-Jul-13 17:56:17

If so, could we discuss it? I'm going to be watching The Apprentice final from 8 to 10 but will catch up on Listen Again, either this evening or tomorrow.

Frontiers. Radio 4, 9pm Wed 17 July. I read about it in a copy of the Express at the gym. blush

"The hormone oxytocin is involved in mother and baby bonding and in creating trust. Linda Geddes finds out if taking oxytocin can help people with autism become more sociable."

mummytime Wed 17-Jul-13 18:07:59

Sorry but I've already got some reservations.

Are all people with Autism unsociable then?
Are they blaming Autism on a lack of bonding between mother and baby?

MrsTwgtwf Wed 17-Jul-13 18:15:47

Yes, I wasn't happy about that last sentence.

No, I don't think they're blaming autism on a lack of bonding; I imagine it's about the role of oxytocin in how adults function. But I don't really know. The Express didn't say much about it, and although I've googled it, I can't find any details.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 17-Jul-13 18:18:47

Is it repeated at any time. I've been banging on about oxytocin for frigging ages.......

Taint about making them more sociable, but making them better able to read social situations and contexts.

Hope it doesn't go down refrigerator mother alley and suggest cuddle-therapy. That would REALLY piss me off.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 17-Jul-13 18:19:12

How does listen again work?

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 17-Jul-13 18:19:57

Sorry for my short hand 'them'. Going out on date and trying to make house suitable for a babysitter despite invested by ants...hmm

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 17-Jul-13 18:20:07


MrsTwgtwf Wed 17-Jul-13 18:25:41

I do Listen Again on the computer - if you click on my link in the OP - see the big pink Listen Now sign and arrow - after 9pm tonight that will take you to tonight's programme. It won't take you there now, because it hasn't yet been broadcast. You need speakers.

Really interested to hear you've been banging on about it, Starlight.

I sincerely hope it's not about refridgerator mothers, but who knows?

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 17-Jul-13 18:40:42

Yep. Has been a pet theory of mine. Ever since ds was born and before a dx. I've always thought that the nature of ds' birth fecked up his oxytocin production.

I know SBC has been making teenagers sniff oxytocin and measured their social skills before and after with interesting outcomes (though he wouldn't agree with my theory of the cause of oxytocin deficit (in some people with autism) in the first place - he'd say that the autism causes an inability to birth in partnership with mother I suspect).

But it is widely known that it is important hormone throughout the birth and that it can set the path for some areas of development.

Doubt they'd talk about that though. No-one wants to fund better maternity services. Better to blame the mother for putting child in childcare in the early years or something.

MrsTwgtwf Wed 17-Jul-13 18:43:36

I think it's interesting that it's called the cuddle hormone.

But during the birth, did you have any of the artificial version of oxytocin - syntocin, is it? I certainly copped a load of that.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 17-Jul-13 18:47:28

No. I had a shedload of adrenaline, the antidote.

I have ptsd still from then.

If it fucked with MY neurology, then imagine what it did to a small fragile and developing brain!?

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 17-Jul-13 18:49:08

BTW, not saying all autisms could possibly be caused by the same thing.

CwtchesAndCuddles Wed 17-Jul-13 18:50:32


I would be very interested to learn more about this - could you explain more about the importance of oxytocin at birth?

MrsTwgtwf Wed 17-Jul-13 18:50:39

sad Sorry to hear about the ptsd. I got given the syntocin because I was so scared, that nothing was happening. As far as I remember - it's all pretty much a nasty blur. We could certainly use better maternity services, as you say.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 17-Jul-13 19:12:04

I'll sound like a right old hippy and pro-natural anti-drug birth nut, but that's because I am, - NOW.

Shedloads of oxytocin floods the woman's body to do a variety of things. To relax all the muscles to make birth easier, to keep her calm and in tune to move and be responsive during the birth, to keep the contractions effective, and to pass to her baby to keep the baby de-stressed and calm too.

If you imagine the tingle you get when having a head-massage, that is the kind of feeling you are 'supposed' to feel when having a baby, though not denying the pain aspect too.

This is a very sensitive time and easily disrupted. If the woman is scared, the baby will refuse to come out for a bit, as the adrenaline in her blood will signal the current time and place is a dangerous time to be born and survive. This is why I'm against the time limit of 10 days overdue. It can actually cause a very overdue baby.

During the birth process, fear and/or disruption can inhibit the necessary oxytocin production and slow down the birth, tire the woman to the extent that she needs more interference, change of venue, to have to talk to someone, drugs to further impede the oxytocin or override it, to worry about timeframes, to come completely out of the 'zone' she is supposed to be in.

I believe it is this disruption to birthing women on a wide scale that is responsible for the rise in simplex autism.

If a baby is born in such a context (one that signals the world they are about to be born into is dangerous) then to survive/be adaptive, they need to develop a more defensive set of senses.

This isn't simple, and a hard birth does not guarantee autism being triggered, in the same way that being born in the summer doesn't guarantee you will have brown eyes (though there is some research to shows that eye colour changes over the first couple of years in line with the environment and the light levels around the time of birth). If this is true then why not of autism tendency. Of course, if your whole family going far back forever had blue eyes then summer or not, you'll not be having brown as the possibility isn't even there.

mummytime Wed 17-Jul-13 19:20:30

Okay - but I know at least one woman who has a child diagnosed with Aspergers, who had a very natural birth, no intervention - partly because it was very quick, and no real adrenaline.

So even that theory can't be the whole reason.

BTW she also had two other children with far more intervention but no real symptoms of ASD.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 17-Jul-13 19:23:57

Oh, I thought I'd covered that in my loooong post!?

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 17-Jul-13 19:25:26

I don't believe in autism as a 'thing' but a set of behaviours with a variety of causes.

Predisposition in the genes to the sensitivity of some of those causes. Sometimes simply caused by a blow to the head.

StarlightMcKenzie Wed 17-Jul-13 19:26:42

That's why I focus on simplex autism, rather than multiplex, though think there are blurred boundaries.

Just, please god, don't let this programme suggest we should just all love our kids a bit more.

TapselteerieO Wed 17-Jul-13 19:45:10

I had two fairly straightforward pg's - nt dd born after 6 hours in a birthing pool in hospital - no drugs, height of summer, very warm weather, blue eyes.

Ds (brown eyes/hfa) late spring hb, bit of gas and air, v relaxed, lovely birth - he did have cord around his neck, I had medical problems unrelated to pg throughout my pregnancy - I was very stressed and worried. Also during pg I was scalded when getting my hair done, I actually went into shock when it happened - I very rarely go to the hairdressers now!

I think my stress during pg could have triggered autism, just like my db got an infection when he was 17 which triggered type I diabetes, but I also think my family and dh's family have some autistic traits/susceptibility. I have one cousin in his mid twenties with autism.

MrsTwgtwf Wed 17-Jul-13 19:53:58

Linda Geddes, who's presenting the prog, is part of the MN Bloggers network and has done a guest blog for MN. I haven't read any of it, though. I just googled her. But you might hope she'd have some sense?

AtYourCervix Wed 17-Jul-13 20:04:27

Interesting. (Also hippy, birth, nut).
I'll do a listen again tomorrow.
And read up on weird neuro blocking thingys. Adrenalin receptors. Stuff like that. Can't pit it in rational words. Lack of sleep.

MrsTwgtwf Wed 17-Jul-13 20:12:03

Heh, if it's a load of rubbish mebbe we can get her on here to account for herself. grin Or at least have a debate about it.

kafkesque Thu 18-Jul-13 01:01:15

I was toying with the idea that oxytocin was responsible for Autism in some way. I was given oxytocin during "tightening" but birth notes say spontaneous birth? Difficult stressful birth with fetal bradycardia. It did not help with milk production. It did not help with my bonding of my baby. - I preferred my first baby for at least two years. (I love them both the same now)

I don't think oxytocin will totally cure some aspects of autism.

Will it help to rewire/mature some neural pathways?

zumbaleena Thu 18-Jul-13 01:39:12

I give oxytocin to my little one twice a day and I hv seen the massive change in her social reading of situations

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