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Whiff of 'love hormone' helps monkeys show a little kindness
Date:1/5/2012

e is currently being evaluated as a therapy for autism, schizophrenia and other disorders that are marked by an apparent lack of interest or caring about others, Platt said. It seems to give patients increased trust and better social skills, but not much is known about how that process works, or whether the effects would be consistent over the long term.

This study may help establish monkeys as a good behavioral and pharmacological model for understanding oxytocin therapy, Platt said.

The nebulizer mask used in these tests is also more pleasant than the sprays now being used on humans, he added. "We were able to make the inhalation very tolerable by using the pediatric nebulizer," Platt said. "This may be much better for treating young children with autism or related disorders than the typical nasal spray, which can be uncomfortable. It may deliver the hormone more effectively, too."

The researchers were also able to determine for the first time that nasally administered oxytocin actually travels into the brain. "Understanding how oxytocin works in the brain, where the site of action is, and the long-term consequences of treatment can't be done in humans," Platt said. "And rodent models are too distant behaviorally and neurologically to provide much insight."


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Contact: Karl Leif Bates
karl.bates@duke.edu
919-681-8054
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert

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