University Researcher Given $1.5 Million to Research Oxytocin

A university researcher has been given $1.5 million to research oxytocin.

The ‘Love Hormone’ has been attracting increasing attention from both the media and science for its role in apparently everything from mother infant bonding to levels of trust between people.  Both government and pharma companies are throwing money at University teams researching the hormone in the hope that it may lead to cures for such things as  breast feeding problems and even autism and schizophrenia.

http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/news/2013/02/11/uthsc-researcher-lands-15-million.html

“Since the properties of oxytocin neurons change during pregnancy and lactation, we want to investigate the mechanisms underlying this adaptation, which maximizes the efficiency of oxytocin’s actions,” Armstrong said.

The grant, funded by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Development, will enable Armstrong to continue his research for the next five years.

Oxytocin Can Determine Success In Team Sports

Oxytocin may soon be added to the list of banned performance enhancing substances – at least for team sports – if a leading expert on the hormone is correct. Gert-Jan Pepping, a researcher at the Centre for Human Movement Sciences at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, claims that there is reason to believe that oxytocin plays a considerable role in enhancing team sport performance.

Consider, he says, what happens during soccer shootouts. For a study that he and his colleagues published in 2010, they watched replays of a multitude of penalty shootouts that had decided recent, high-pressure World Cup and European Championship games.

They found that when one of the first shooters threw his arms in the air to celebrate a goal, his teammates were far more likely to subsequently shoot successfully than when no exuberant gestures followed a goal.

The players had undergone, it seems, a “transference of emotion,” Dr. Pepping and his colleagues wrote. Emotions such as happiness and confidence are known to be contagious, with one person’s excitement sparking rolling biochemical reactions in onlookers’ brains.

In the shootouts, he says, each player almost certainly had experienced a shared burst of oxytocin, and in the rush of positive feeling, had shot better.

Read More : http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/21/the-love-hormone-as-sports-enhancer/

Oxytocin – The Fidelity Hormone?

Scientists have announced the lastest finding into the remarkable roles that oxytocin plays in love and social relationships. Already known as the love hormone on account of studies demonstrating its significance for bonding between mothers and children, sexual partners, and people in general, the latest research suggests that oxytocin might also be a factor in the degree that husbands stay faithful to their wives.

A nasal spray containing the hormone caused men with wives or long-term partners to keep a greater distance from attractive women but had no affect on bachelors, researchers found.

Although those in relationships did not judge the woman to be any less attractive, they began to feel uncomfortable more quickly when approached by the woman and asked her to remain further away.

Oxytocin, dubbed the “love hormone”, was already known for its role in attraction and bonding in both men and women, but had never been shown to play a lasting role in long-term relationships.

The findings suggest that boosting levels of oxytocin could help maintain marriages by preventing men from appearing interested in other women, researchers said.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9678246/Fidelity-hormone-could-keep-men-from-straying.html#

Oxytocin is already used as a complimentary therapy by some marriage counsellers in the USA.

Oxytocin Implicated in Mating Behaviour of Humans…and Worms..

A team at Rockefeller University New York have claimed that their research shows that oxytocin plays a very similar role in controlling sexual behaviour in animals as diverse as humans and worms.

“Our research shows that molecules similar to vasopressin and oxytocin have an ancient and evolutionarily conserved role in controlling a critical social behavior, mating,” says Cori Bargmann, Torsten N. Wiesel Professor and head of the Lulu and Anthony Wang Laboratory of Neural Circuits and Behavior. “This work suggests that these molecules encode the same kind of information in the brains of very different animals.”

By identifying a peptide and two receptors in worms that share a similar molecular structure to the neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin in humans, scientists discovered that

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-10-neurotransmitters-linked-behavior-mammals-worms.html#jCp

Oxytocin Spray Helps Relieve Symptoms of Alcohol Addiction Withdrawal

Oxytocin spray could help people suffering from addictions by alleviating the symptoms of withdrawal according to the latest study into the ‘cuddle hormone’.

Although the numerous benefits of oxytocin are now well documented, the hormone’s effects can be more complicated than is widely thought.  For example, it has even been linked to racism and prejudiced thinking.  Another negative role that oxytocin might  play in human psychology is in providing the bonds between a alcohol or drug user and his addiction.

However, that last facet of oxytocin could actually be used to help sufferers overcome their addictions.

David Pearce and the Philosophy of Universal Love through Oxytocin

David Pearce is one of the most prominant philosophers of ‘Transhumanism’ – a movement which actively supports the idea the humans should improve themselves through science into something more than human. Pearce is a vegetarian and believes that through science it will be possible to build a pain free world for all sentient beings and that this should be a moral goal of humanity.

This utiliatarian philosopher, who believes that the basis of morality is the pursuit of happiness for all, has a particular interest in the hormone oxytocin and it’s possible uses in bringing about a better world in which people are more trusting and loving of each other, and other animals. He has a website devoted entirely to this end :

http://oxytocin.org/

see also : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Pearce_%28philosopher%29