Oxytocin, or the hormone of love, could help to improve social abilities in autistic kids, as a small Australian study has shown. The prospective uses of such simple therapies will improve the long-term advantages of other educational, behavioral and technology-based treatments and very interesting, experts said in a brief press statement. Oxytocin, a hormone that is frequently produced by our organism, has been associated with human bonding such as romantic feelings and the parent-child connection. The new research included 30 children, with ages between 2 and 9, with autism deficiencies who were administered an oxytocin-based spray every day for one month.
The scientists said that children who received the spray have shown an important development in their social, psychological and behavioral issues, compared to children who were in the control group. The more common adverse reactions were hunger, frequent urination and bowel problems, the scientists reported. However, these side effects can be easily treated with additional therapies implemented at the right time.
According to the team of experts, this research is the first study to demonstrate that a medication can improve all types of social abilities in young people with autism. The scientists said that they tracked oxytocin-related improvements in the kids’ brain areas responsible for social actions. The next problem is to understand how oxytocin changes the nervous system to develop social skills and this type of treatment could be implemented as part of general therapies for kids with autism.
Previous tests of oxytocin in autism signs have used hypodermic injections, which are not indicated for serious or recurring treatments. By proving that this hormone can be used as nasal spray and alleviate a few symptoms of autism, makes this therapy more available for people who might use it in the future. However, doctors affirm that oxytocin by itself does not eliminate all signs of autism and it has to be applied together with other treatments. They said that such a well-designed research provides the most powerful proof up to now that the hormone can generate an important short-term progress in social abilities for youngsters suffering of autism.
The health advantages were not continuous when these kids with a variety of problems related to autism were turned from oxytocin to regular placebo. A more important aspect is that scientists do not understand if the advantages can be continual or improved with longer treatments based on oxytocin. The research also used a small sample of patients, but doctors said that. in the next months, they will see if those positive results are duplicated by other studies, since many researchers in the United States are performing identical tests.
Even if parents of kids with autism may be influenced to ask physicians to recommend oxytocin sprays for the children, they should keep in mind that some of them did not accept this therapy. In conclusion, they need more details about longer-term advantages and protection before these therapies can be indicated as a popular medical strategy for patients suffering of autism spectrum disorders.
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