Following studies that indicated an improvement in the social skills of patients with autism after taking an oxytocin nasal spray, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland has conducted a similar study to investigate whether oxytocin could improve the social skill deficits of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.
As well as suffering from delusions and hallucinations, patients with schizophrenia also suffer from a similar lack of ability as autistics to recognise the emotional states of others, and to function well in social situations.
The research carried out at Maryland found a dramatic improvement in the ability of the schizophrenic patients involved in the tests to recognise the emotional states of others from pictures of their faces. This dramatic improvement in the social skils of schizophrenics was made after just 3 weeks of treatment with oxytocin. Head of the research - B. B. Averbeck - believes more extensive research should now be conducted to further the exploration of the positive effects of oxytocin on patients with autism or schizophrenia.