Treating Autism: Real Hope for a Better Life


The Brain & Mind Research Institute leads the world in the development of the first-ever medical treatment for autism, using the naturally occurring hormone oxytocin.
Oxytocin can now be administered by a nasal spray and we have demonstrated the way it can change the fundamental social and personal interactions of adolescents with autism.

The project

The challenge now is to develop and test the treatment for use in children who are typically diagnosed with the conditions prior to commencing school. The research programs required to develop and evaluate this new therapeutic approach are starved of funding; the next five years are critical in taking this highly promising experimental treatment from the laboratory to everyday clinical practice.


The use of these types of treatment would not only increase the chance that a child may succeed educationally and socially at primary school, but increase the chance that the development of the brain would proceed in a more normal fashion throughout these early years.

Fundraising target: $1,000,000 (five years)

Project leaders: Professor Ian Hickie, Director, Brain & Mind Research Institute, the University of Sydney and Dr Adam Guastella, Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Brain & Mind Research Institute, the University of Sydney.