Oxytocin Improves Autistics' Social Skills
'Love hormone' offers hope of treatment
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2010 6:07 PM CST
Ashton Faller, 5, plays UNO with his family in Everett, Wash., in 2009. Faller got specialized treatment for autism starting at age 2. He was not part of the new study.   (AP Photo/Marcus R. Donner)

(Newser) – The hormone oxytocin may improve the social skills of people with high-functioning autism. In a new study, patients who received doses of it in a nasal spray were better able to recognize faces and interact with others in a game. In short, the so-called "love chemical" seems to help those with autism and Asperger's syndrome better able to pick up on social cues, reports Time.

The researchers hope oxytocin therapy could become a powerful treatment therapy and perhaps even correct social deficits before they form. "It's possible it can become a cure, if it's given early when the problems are detected in the little kids," the lead scientist tells the Washington Post. "We can change the way these patients interact with people from childhood."

 

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