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Could oxytocin be useful in treating psychiatric disorders?
Date:9/16/2013

Philadelphia, Pa. (September 16, 2013) The hormone oxytocin could play a role in treating psychiatric disorders such as autism and schizophrenia, according to a review article in the September Harvard Review of Psychiatry. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.

Among other biological effects, oxytocin is "an important regulator of human social behaviors," according to the research review by Dr David Cochran of University of Massachusetts Medical School and colleagues. They discuss the preliminary but encouraging evidence that oxytocin could be a useful treatment for certain mental health diagnosesparticularly those involving impaired social functioning.

A Common Hormonal Factor in Psychiatric Disorders?

Oxytocin is a neuropeptide hormone, probably most familiar for its role in initiating labor and breast milk flow in pregnant women. But a growing body of evidence in animals and humans shows that it also plays an important role in regulating social behaviors. In their review, Dr Cochran and colleagues found evidence of oxytocin's involvement in "social decision making, evaluating and responding to social stimuli, mediating social interactions, and forming social memories" in humans.

Based on these effects, researchers have suspected that oxytocin may be a common factor in certain psychiatric disorders. The reviewers analyze the evidence for oxytocin's involvement in specific disordersincluding some early research on oxytocin as a potential treatment for these conditions.

Some studies have reported a "dysfunction in oxytocin processing" in children (although not necessarily adults) with autism and related disorders. There's also evidence that genes affecting oxytocinsuch as the o
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Contact: Connie Hughes
connie.hughes@wolterskluwer.com
646-674-6348
Wolters Kluwer Health
Source:Eurekalert

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