Wow. In my opinion, the most recent autism research is also some of the most fascinating to date: A study conducted at the University of North Carolina found that a nasal spray with oxytocin, a naturally produced peptide in the brain, significantly improved social interactions in autistic patients. A nasal spray?! What?!
Actually, when you consider the purpose of oxytocin, it makes a lot of sense. Oxytocin doubles as a neural transmitter, which has the ability to make engaging with other people more pleasurable. Let's put it this way: Oxytocin is the hormone released during breastfeeding, which "promotes a strong sense of love and attachment" between mother and baby.
Powerful stuff, right? Of course, as so many parents know all too well, one of the most heartbreaking aspects of autism is the seeming inability to function "normally" on a social level. So any treatment that might potentially have the ability to ease the process of connecting with others -- even make that process enjoyable -- is huge news.
Of course, more research is required before the potential remedy can be marketed to the public. But the application must have something going for it, considering the military is currently spending $3 million on the development of an anti-suicide nasal spray.
Do you think this treatment has potential?
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