New studies have shown that individuals who have been treated with the hormone oxytocin have shown significant levels of improvement with their social interaction skills. Oxytocin, often referred to as the “cuddle hormone,” aids in treating autism, which is a disease whose main side effect includes minimal ability to interact with others while sometimes simultaneously possessing extremely high levels of general intelligence.
French researchers conducted a study to determine if there was a link to the use of oxytocin and increased social interaction. The viewed the participants, with autism, before and after administering oxytocin to them. During the study, the subjects paid more attention to the faces of other people in a ball game task and sought the most cooperative players. Prior to the use of the hormone, subjects avoided the game entirely.
The hormone oxytocin is often referred to as the “cuddle hormone” because it helps mothers and children bond during the infancy stage and creates feelings of love between two lovers. It also has been known to play a significant role in other aspects of social interaction that people with autism often suffer from: face recognition, social bonding, and interpreting gestures. Additional evidence shows that the brain matter we use in social interaction is different than the one responsible for memory and learning. Oxytocin is the bond within the brain to help maintain social relationships.
Thomas Insel, Director of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, told the Seventh Forum of European Neuroscience (FENS) in Amsterdam, “These pro-social compounds could help people with autism improve their social interactions.”
According to reports, most researchers at the U.S. National Institute for Mental Health do not feel that this hormone presents a cure for autism, but it does make day-to-day life easier and would allow for an improvement in the social lives of any person who does suffer from this condition.
In an early 2010 interview, published in The Epoch Times, reporter James Ottar Grundvig asked renowed autism expert, Dr. Eric Hollander (Chair of Psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center and Chair of Research for ICare4Autism) about his work with oxytocin. Grundvig asked, “On your research and “randomized double-blind study” on the effects of Oxytocin on repetitive behaviors in ASD: What have you learned so far about the causal relationship between Oxytocin in these children? Is it related to abnormalities in Oxytocin?”
Dr. Hollander responded by saying, “The studies were in healthy adults. We gave Oxytocin via a nasal delivery. It improved strong trust bonds. It improved emotions that could be read in the eyes. In the recent study of young adults (above 18 years of age) on the spectrum, Oxytocin therapy lessened the “stimming.” It reduced or eliminated repetitive behavior. Delivered intravenously, it improved social cognition. The improvements were preserved for a two-week period on a single dose.”
Dr. Hollander continued on to say, “We are going to conduct a third Oxytocin study with an eight (8) week time period to rescue certain symptom domains. It is important to expand the database in the young adults with autism. We need to acquire evidence by the studies that Oxytocin treatment works. Recruiting clinical patients for this study is vital. So is safety. Safety and evidence. In this study we will give Oxytocin with intranasal delivery.”