Dr Tommy Tacker explains the many ways that oxytocin can help you in your life. Oxytocin is a hormone that is produced naturally within the body through a variety of methods. Oxytocin benefits our bodies in a myriad of ways. Oxytocin has anti-anxiety effects by reducing the stress hormone cortisol, and reduces our blood pressure. Oxytocin improves sleep and promotes feelings of well-being. Oxytocin boosts our immune system and enhances sexual intimacy. Promising research is being done on the benefits of oxytocin for autism, schizophrenia, drug addictions, and fibromyalgia, just to new a few of its possible uses.
In February, researchers in France reported that patients with high-functioning autism (asperger’s syndrome) were better able to interact socially when given doses of oxytocin nasal spray. Now a second study has appeared to confirm that treating autistic patients with oxytocin hormone can help to alleviate their symptoms. Evdokia Anagnostou, a child neurologist working in Canada, presented her findings last week, claiming that people with autism who were given twice daily doses of oxytocin improved their social cognition and were better able to recognise emotion in others.
A new study hasfound that participants with Asperger’s Syndrome (high functioning autism) who were given an oxytocin injection were better able to interpret facial expressions and had more memories of people’s emotional states than those taking a placebo .
Eric Hollander, who led the research at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City, believes that oxytocin could have an important impact on the core symptoms of autistic spectrum disorders and could form the basis for the first successful medications to treat autistic symptoms.
Oxytocin seems to be the first investigative treatment approach that holds promise for treating core symptoms like social cognition problems.
An oxytocin study being carried out at the Stanford University School of Medicine hopes to discover what role, if any, the hormone plays in causing autism. The importance of oxytocin in forming social bonds is now widely documented. At this stage, the inference that the ‘trust hormone’ might be lacking or in some way not working effectively in those with autism, is still no more than optimistic speculation. If the researchers do, however, discover some kind of relationship, it is hoped that at the very least, blood tests could be introduced to enable a more objective and earlier diagnosis, and perhaps even the development of the first effective pharmaceutical treatments for autism.
Eric Hollander, a psychiatrist and expert on autism, is to give a talk on the latest research on the possible use of oxytocin in the treatment of autism. Hollander himself has recently led a team of researchers which found that oxytocin enhanced the ability to recognize emotions such as anger or happiness in the tone of a speaker’s voice. The talks will be held at the Seaver and New York Autism Center of Excellence at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York on November the 12th.