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Oct 28, 2015 09:28 AM EDT

Miracle drug for autism?


A study by researchers at the University of Sydney's Brain and Mind Centre in Australia has revealed that a drug called oxytocin has immense social and emotional benefits for children with autism, Morning Ticker reports. 

The researchers noted that this is the first clinical trial to study the safety and efficacy of oxytocin in autistic children.

The scientists found that a five-week treatment using oxytocin showed big improvements in social and emotional issues in children who have autism, Financial Express reports.

For the study, a total of 31 children between 3 and 8 years of age were examined. The children were administered nasal spray with oxytocin twice each day for a period of five weeks.  After five weeks, the researchers noted that the children were much more socially responsive, after the intake of oxytocin.

The findings were published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

"We used some of the most widely used assessments of social responsiveness for children with autism," said autism expert, Associate Professor Adam Guastella of the Brain and Mind Centre.

"We found that following oxytocin treatment, parents reported their child to be more socially responsive at home, and our own blind independent clinician ratings also supported improved social responsiveness in the therapy rooms of the Brain and Mind Centre," he said.

Study co-author and co-director of the Brain and Mind Centre, Professor Ian Hickie noted the study was an advance in medical treatments for the social deficits of autism.

"The potential to use such simple treatments to enhance the longer-term benefits of other behavioural, educational and technology-based therapies is very exciting," he said.

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