Love hormone may help autistic children

The same incredible hormone that helps us fall in love shows promise as a tool for treating children with autism, says Dr. Larry Young, a Professor of Psychiatry and a faculty member in the NS and PBEE programs at Emory University. He is widely regarded for his pioneering research on oxytocin, the so-called "love hormone" that enables our brains to process affection and attraction.

Speaking to the Herald at Queenstown Research Week, where he is a star speaker, Dr. Young said we were only at the brink of understanding the full potential of this powerful trigger, which activated to help us emotionally bond with our new lovers and infants.

Now, there was early evidence to suggest it could be used to treat social deficits in psychiatric disorders, including autism and schizophrenia.

Dr. Young said oxytocin was part of what made human beings distinct among social relationships in the natural world - the love we experience isn't seen in 97 per cent of other mammals.

Click here to view the full story in the New Zealand Herald.