Latest News » Impact of “love hormone” on brain health revealed, may influence autism treatment

This hormone may boost brain health and benefit children with autism.

Autism is a complex neurological condition that affects one in 50 children in the United States, according to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To date, there is no cure for the disorder, but many families rely on therapy-focused treatments and nutrition for autism to help their children lead full and happy lives.

Previously on this blog, we've covered several breakthroughs in autism research that have shed further light on the neurological mechanics of this condition and the treatment options that may prove the most beneficial – including sensory-centric therapy. Now, researchers have discovered a new role of a hormone that has already been linked to autism in past research.

"Children and adults with autism-spectrum disorder (ASD) struggle with recognizing the emotions of others and are easily distracted by extraneous features of their environment. Previous studies have shown that children with autism have lower levels of oxytocin, and mutations in the oxytocin receptor gene predispose people to autism," a press release from New York University states.

According to the source, researchers have discovered that oxytocin – also known as the "love hormone" because it facilitates emotional bonding – may also influence how information travels through the brain. Study author Richard Tsien explained that the presence of this hormone both "quiets background activity [and] increases the accuracy of stimulated impulse firing."

The researchers noted that further research is necessary to determine the role this hormone plays in various forms of autism and how it may be harnessed to supplement diets for autism and other current treatment methods.