Another study has found that oxytocin could potentially be used as a treatment for people suffering from social handicaps, from anxiety to autism.
In the latest study, British researchers examined the effect of oxytocin nasal spray – popularly known as the ‘love hormoe’ – on 17 healthy men. The hormone was administered both nasally through a spray, and through the volunteer’s blood.
The research team studied the blood flow to the region of the brain known as the amygdala and found it to be reduced by the combination of nasal and injected oxytocin. The amygdala is thought to be the region of the brain involved in processing social information, emotion and anxiety.
The researchers also found evidence that levels of alertness and excitement was reduced in the volunteers who had been administered the oxytocin.
Interestingly, the team from Kings College London also found that administering the drug via the nasal route targeted areas of the brain which the injection method did not reach, although it was not clear where.