Can Oxytocin Treat Autism?

The hormone may help some people with autism make social connections.

By Florence Williams|Friday, April 05, 2013
RELATED TAGS: AUTISM, HORMONE THERAPY

oxytocin

At a think tank meeting about autism several years ago, molecular geneticist Simon Gregory spoke with mainstream and nonconventional doctors about oxytocin, the so-called “love hormone” that some doctors were using to treat symptoms of social disconnection in children with autism. 

Asking for a show of hands, Gregory was stunned to see that about a fifth of the attendees were supplying oxytocin nasal sprays to their young patients. Yet safety data were scanty, and “it was pretty evident there wasn’t any standard of care for autism,” Gregory says. “Some people were using once a day, others twice. There was no metric of successful treatment. It’s the Wild West.”

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