Help for Depression: Oxytocin Nasal Spray

Posted: October 19th, 2010 | Author: skwilcox | Filed under: Empathy, Healing, News | Tags: Mental Health, Oxytocin | No Comments »

A study done by researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), tested the effects of oxytocin nasal spray on patients with depression. By using brain imaging technology, a group of depressed patients that was given a dose of intranasal oxytocin was compared in their ability to "read the mind in the eyes" versus that of a control group. Key regions of the brains of the test subjects showed more activity than in the untreated group.

Sagittal MRI slice at the midline.Image via Wikipedia


This is potentially good news for those suffering from depression. Although the study makes no claims regarding oxytocin's effects on those without depression, an interesting finding is that the treatment group – those who received oxytocin – is less disconnected from others in a social setting. This allows for greater interactions, and that's what we've come to expect from this hormone.

To read more about the MUSC study, go here.

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Starting to Wonder What Oxytocin CAN’T Do

Posted: February 16th, 2010 | Author: skwilcox | Filed under: Healing, News | No Comments »

So, let's see…oxytocin makes people more trusting and more relaxed. It helps people "read your mind" in the sense that they are better able to understand your facial expressions, which in turn makes them more understanding or empathetic.

On top of all that, as if it weren't enough already, CBS News recently released a report that suggests that oxytocin may also work as an antioxidant. You know, the stuff that helps fight cancer.

Now, I'm not claiming that oxytocin nasal spray will prevent cancer! I'm just always amazed at all the amazing things this little hormone – that hardly anyone knows about – can do.

To see the whole CBS story, click here.

Nest making and oxytocin comparably promote wound healing

Posted: January 30th, 2010 | Author: skwilcox | Filed under: Healing, News | No Comments »

…in rats.

Obviously we can't count on using oxytocin to scab over the road rash after the next losing battle with the pavement. After all, no one reading this, I'm guessing, is a rodent. However, last year researchers at Massachussets General Hospital published results demonstrating the healing effect of oxytocin (and, more directly, nest building) in an animal study. This work connects to other findings over the years about the relationship between stress and rate of healing.

Read the abstract from the National Institutes of Health here.

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