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According to a recent Australian study, it has been found out that with the assistance of an oxytocin nasal spray, the social skills in autistic children can be significantly improved.
Talking about the findings, the co-author of the study and co-director of the Brain and Mind Center at University of Sydney, Ian Hickie, in a university news release stated, “The potential to use such simple treatments to enhance the longer-term benefits of other behavioral, educational and technology-based therapies is very exciting.”
Oxytocin usually referred as the ‘love hormone’ occurs naturally in the human body and is associated with feelings of love and social ties.
In order to reach the findings, the researchers observed around 31 children with autism aged between 3 to 8. During the study, the children were administered with the oxytocin nasal spray twice a day for almost five weeks.
It was later found out that the children who received the nasal spray exhibited remarkable improvement in emotional, social and behavioral problems when compared to those kids who did not receive the treatment. The researchers said that some side effects were also noted which included constipation, thirst and urination.
Chief science officer with the Autism Science Foundation, Alycia Halladay said, “Previous studies of oxytocin for autism symptoms have used injection, which is not feasible for chronic or repeated administration. By showing that oxytocin can be put in a nasal spray and still improve some symptoms of autism, it makes this treatment more accessible for many who might benefit.”
Although, Halladay also said “oxytocin does not improve all symptoms of autism. It should be used in conjunction with other therapies.”
Talking about the findings of the study, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York, in New Hyde Park, Dr. Andrew Adesman said, “this well-designed study provides the strongest evidence to date that oxytocin can lead to significant short-term improvements in social responsiveness in young children with autism spectrum disorders.”
The findings of the research were published on Tuesday in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.