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Oxytocin and Brain Responses in Maternal Addiction


Children's Health | Diseases in Infants & Newborns

What is the purpose of this trial?

A prior study by the principal investigator of this project identified dopamine- and oxytocin-related brain pathways that showed a diminished response when addicted mothers viewed the faces of their own vs. unknown infants, compared with non-addicted mothers. These areas include the hypothalamus, striatum and ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Oxytocin, a neuropeptide with decreased blood levels seen in addicted mothers, is integrally involved in maternal brain and behavioral responses. When administered intranasally, the pilot data has shown enhanced activation of the striatum, prefrontal cortex (PFC) and amygdala.

The purpose of this study is to continue and expand upon the previous investigation of maternal addiction, by conducting a randomized, double-blinded, placebo controlled, crossover study of intranasal oxytocin on maternal brain responses. 150 mothers from the University of Iowa and the Yale Child Study Center will be enrolled (75 with a history of drug addiction and 75 matched control mothers), along with their 2 to 12-month-old infants, to participate in four study visits over a two-month period.

  • Trial with
    University of Iowa
  • Start Date
  • End Date

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