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'Love hormone' helps autistic kids

IANS 10 Aug 2014, 14:46:17 PM IST
New York:  The "love hormone" oxytocin helps autistic kids improve social skills.

Researchers from Stanford University have found that oxytocin has a tremendous effect on such kids' ability to function socially.

"Children blessed with naturally high levels of oxytocin are more savvy at communicating with others and interpreting social signals or situations," said Karen Parker, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Stanford.

The higher your oxytocin levels, the better your social functioning, Parker added.

During the study, researchers examined 79 children with autism, 52 of their unaffected siblings and 62 unrelated children without autism.

"All children with autism have social deficits but these deficits were worst in those with the lowest blood oxytocin levels and mildest in those with the highest oxytocin levels," Parker said.

The findings also showed that oxytocin levels are influenced by genes.

The study appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.