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Dr. Karen Parker: The Causes & Treatments for Autism

Huberman Lab

Scicomm Media

Science, Life Sciences, Health & Fitness

4.923.3K Ratings

🗓️ 11 December 2023

⏱️ 176 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


In this episode, my guest is Dr. Karen Parker, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and director of the Social Neurosciences Research Program at Stanford University School of Medicine. We discuss the biology of social connections and bonding in babies, children and adults. Dr. Parker explains our current understanding of autism and autism spectrum disorders: what they are, why the incidence of autism has increased so dramatically in recent years and both the current and emerging treatments for autism. We also discuss the condition formerly called “Asperger’s.” This episode ought to be highly relevant for anyone interested in child and human development, how social bonds form, and to those curious about autism and other spectrum conditions. For show notes, including referenced articles and additional resources, please visit hubermanlab.com. Thank you to our sponsors AG1: https://drinkag1.com/huberman Eight Sleep: https://eightsleep.com/huberman LMNT: https://drinklmnt.com/huberman AeroPress: https://aeropress.com/huberman InsideTracker: https://insidetracker.com/huberman Momentous: https://livemomentous.com/huberman Timestamps (00:00:00) Dr. Karen Parker (00:01:30) Sponsors: Eight Sleep, LMNT & AeroPress (00:06:25) Autism, Frequency, Diagnosis (00:10:41) Early Interventions; Heritability & Autistic Traits (00:13:00) Autistic Spectrums; Studying Autism (00:21:29) Environment, Risk Factors & In Utero Development (00:29:55) Sponsor: AG1 (00:31:26) Oxytocin, Vasopressin, Social Behavior & Parent-Child Bonding (00:43:240 Oxytocin in Humans; Social Features of Autism, Intranasal Oxytocin (00:54:14) Sponsor: InsideTracker (00:55:16) Oxytocin & Autism; Benefit & Risks (01:06:30) Neuroplasticity & Autism; Early Intervention; Challenges of Early Diagnosis (01:14:30) MDMA & Autism (01:17:05) Vasopressin, Social Interaction; Voles & Parenthood (01:27:07) Human Social Connection, Oxytocin Levels & Autism (01:33:45) Primate Model of Social Impairment (01:42:47) Preclinical Animal Models, Mouse & Primates (01:47:11) Primates, Biomarkers & Social Connection; Vasopressin (01:52:20) Vasopressin Levels & Autism, Children & In Utero (02:03:06) Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) & Vasopressin; Urination; Alternative Therapies (02:10:32) Intranasal Vasopressin, Children, Autism & Social Responsiveness (02:19:15) Vasopressin & Social Connection, Mechanism & Future Studies (02:26:35) Gut Microbiome & Vasopressin; Scientific Funding (02:34:52) Vasopressin Pathways, Social Behavior, Autism (02:43:00) Vaccine Theory & Autism; Immunology (02:54:06) Zero-Cost Support, Spotify & Apple Reviews, Sponsors, YouTube Feedback, Momentous, Social Media, Neural Network Newsletter Disclaimer

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Welcome to the Huberman Lab Podcast, where we discuss science and science-based tools for everyday life.


I'm Andrew Huberman and I'm a professor of neurobiology and ophthalmology at Stanford School of Medicine.


My guest today is Dr. Karen Parker.


Dr. Karen Parker directs the Social Neuros Sciences Research Program at the Stanford University School of Medicine.


The goal of her laboratory's research is to understand the biological basis of social functioning at every stage of the lifespan.


So this includes the bonds that form between infant and parent or parent. of the template for social functioning when we become adults.


Dr. Parker's research is heavily focused on autism and indeed on all forms of autism spectrum disorders.


Today we discuss autism, we talk about the prominent theories and current understanding of the biological basis for autism,


as well as what still remains mysterious and unresolved about the causes of autism.


You may have heard that the incidents or perhaps just the causes of autism. You may have heard that the incidents or perhaps


just the diagnosis of autism has dramatically increased in the last 10 to 15


years and today we discuss why it is in fact that the incidents not just the diagnosis but the incidence of autism


has so dramatically increased.


And perhaps most excitingly, Dr. Parker shares with us brand new research findings from her laboratory that point to a new understanding of what causes autism as well as a novel treatment for autism.


Before we begin, I'd like to emphasize that this podcast is separate from my teaching and research roles at Stanford.


It is, however, part of my desire and effort to bring zero cost to consumer information about science and science related tools to the general public.


In keeping with that theme, I'd like to


thank the sponsors of today's podcast. Our first sponsor is 8 Sleep. 8 Sleep


makes smart mattress covers with cooling, heating, and sleep tracking capacity.


I've spoken many times before in this podcast about the fact that sleep is the foundation of mental health, physical health, and performance.


Now a key component of getting a great night's sleep is that in order to fall and stay deeply


asleep your body temperature actually has to drop by about one to three degrees.


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