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Kathy Marshack News

New Research About the Hormone Oxytocin and High-Functioning Autism

Thursday, February 25, 2010


A new study performed by the Neuropsychology Group, Institute of Cognitive Science in France suggests that inhaling Oxytocin may be beneficial for people who have high function autism (HF-ASD). Oxytocin is a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and is thought to have an impact on emotions and behavior. Oxytocin is also referred to as "the love hormone."

The study was centered around a virtual ball toss with 13 adults with HF-ASD or Asperger Syndrome between the ages 17-39. The patients were randomly given either the Oxytocin nasal spray or a placebo spray. Those who inhaled Oxytocin improved in their ability to differentiate "good" players versus "bad" players by responding to more social cues. They also saw an improvement in gazing at the other players in the face and eyes.

This study is still in the beginning stages of research. There is much to be discovered in how much Oxytocin should be given and how often. Long-term effects of this hormone are also unknown at this time. For a complete look at this recent study, I recommend reading - Oxytocin Improves Social Interaction in High-Functioning Adults With Autism.


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