Oxytocin fMRI

Study Name: Brain Imaging of Intranasal Oxytocin Treatment in Autism


The ASPIRE team is currently conducting a research study involving children and adolescents (ages 6 - 18 years) with a diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. This study is looking at the effects of an investigational medication on the brain. Oxytocin (nasal spray) is thought to help with social behaviors. This study is looking specifically at the effects of oxytocin vs. placebo on various brain activities. Participants will receive either one dose of oxytocin or one dose of placebo (saline solution with no medicine) followed by brain scans and behavioral assessments.

Subject Payment

Participants will be provided with free and convenient parking. Study medication and research related services will be free of charge, and participants will be compensated per study visit that they complete.

Major Inclusion Criteria

  • Between 10 and 17 years old, inclusive
  • Have a clinical diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder
  • Estimated IQ > 70, and capable of making an informed decision based on assessment of their understanding and judgment

Major Exclusion Criteria

  • History of neurological injury: head trauma, poorly-controlled seizure disorder (seizure within the preceding six months), stroke, prior neurosurgery, or under the care of a neurologist or neurosurgeon as determined by interview
  • History of claustrophobia
  • Implanted medical devices, implanted metal debris, shrapnel, certain tattoos, or permanent makeup that is contraindicated for MRI.
  • Subjects who are taking psychiatric medications
  • Difficulties viewing images on a screen without their corrective glasses or colored contacts (regular contacts are not an issue)
  • Pregnancy/Nursing

Site of study

2218 Nelson Highway Suite 1 Chapel Hill, NC 27517 and BIAC at Duke Hospital, Erwin Rd, Durham, NC

Target enrollment


 *Currently Recruiting*