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Oxytocin ‘Could be Used to Treat Mental Health Problems

Studies on laboratory mice have revealed that the nueral pathways associated with social behaviour in the animal’s brains were permanently altered as a result of oxytocin administration. Mice that had never given birth were able to recognise and respond to the distress calls of baby mice as a result of oxytocin. Scientists at the New York university that carried out the experiment expressed hope that the results show that oxytocin could one day be used to treat and potentially cure a range of mental health problems that handicap social functioning.

“Our findings redefine oxytocin as something completely different from a ‘love drug,’ but more as an amplifier and suppressor of neural signals in the brain,” said Robert Froemke of New York University Langone and senior investigator on the study, published in the journal Nature.

“We found that oxytocin turns up the volume of social information processed in the brain. This suggests that it could one day be used to treat social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, speech and language disorders, and even psychological issues stemming from child abuse,” Dr Froemke said.

Read More : http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/love-hormone-oxytocin-could-be-used-to-treat-mental-health-problems-10178627.html

More Evidence Oxytocin Spray Improves Social Behaviour Amongst Aspergers Men

Men with aspergers syndrome given oxytocin spray were more likely to establish eye contact with a female researcher during video chat than those given a placebo – the latest evidence that oxytocin can relieve the symptoms of autistic spectrum disorders. The research is likely to speed up the race amongst several drug companies to produce a clinically tested version of the hormone.

http://www.fiercedrugdelivery.com/story/evidence-inhaled-oxytocin-improves-social-behavior-among-autistic-patients/2015-03-03

Oxytocin Shown to Reduce Fear

A recent study published in ‘Biological Pyschiatry’ indicates that oxytocin may be used to treat anxiety disorders. The study showed that subjects given intranasal oxytocin (oxytocin spray) showed reduced activity in their forebrain associated with fear as compared to a placebo group.

A randomized controlled trial of 62 healthy male participants showed that those who received intranasal oxytocin soon after undergoing a fear conditioning task had increased inhibition, or a tamping down, of amygdalar responses during extinction therapy compared with matched peers who received placebo. They also showed increased signaling in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC).

“[T]he results of our study indicate that a 24 IU single-dose administration of OXT [oxytocin] increases fear extinction–related frontal brain activity and connectivity, and dampens fear and safety-related amygdalar activity along with electrodermal responses,” the investigators, led by Monika Eckstein, PhD student from the Department of Psychiatry and the Division of Medical Psychology at the University of Bonn, Germany, write.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/834585