Oxytocin May Help Promote Social Skills

Fresh studies into Oxytocin conducted by a team of American and Italian researchers have given further hope that the hormone may form the basis of a possible treatment for autism in kids. The study did not look at autism itself, but it did find that oxytocin may help to promote social skills in babies, just as other studies appear to have found a similar effect on social skills in adults.

The study found that monkey babies given oxytocin were better able to mimic facial expressions of care givers associated with social skills better than monkeys not given the hormone.

These results not only suggest that oxytocin may have a positive effect on social interaction among children with autism, but it can provide a model for studying early neurobiology and social behavior during development. Jerrold Meyer, behavioral endocrinologist of UMass Amherst calls these findings “exciting,” according to Science Codex. Further research on the breastfeeding hormone could help in developing new forms of treatment for developmental disorders of social behaviors.

In a similar 2013 study, the “love hormone” was found to help autistic children bond with others, although the effects did not last long. This suggests there should be considerations on whether this could be used as a treatment for social impairments. A single dose of the chemical improved brain responses to facial expressions and could be used rather as an add-on to the behavioral therapies for autistic people. The chemical one way or another, holds the key to possible autism treatment, since it plays a crucial role in bonding and trust.

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