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Oxytocin may improve social behaviour in ASD

Oxytocin is the hormone involved in labour and lactation ( breastfeeding).  It plays a crucial role in the bonding process bewteen mother and baby and as such is thought to have a role in social and emotional behaviour.  Levels of this hormone have been found to be reduced in autistic subjects.

A team of reserachers at the Centre de Neuroscience Cognitive in France, took a group of individuals with high-functioning autism or Asperger syndrome and measured their social behaviour ( ball tossing game and looking at photos of faces ) before and after taking oxytocin via inhalation.  They found that patients responded more strongly to others and exhibited more approriate social behaviour after receiving the oxytocin, suggesting a possible therapeutic strategy.

Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences February 2010 www.pnas.org e-publication

Posted: August 2010 


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