UIHC researcher says oxytocin nasal spray could one day help kids with autism

By  | 

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- A nasal spray with the hormone, oxytocin, could help kids with autism. It focuses on how autism tends to make kids fixate, or get stuck on certain topics or activities.

Researchers at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and Baylor College of Medicine did the recently published study. It used the hormone spray and tracked the children's eye movements.

They studied 16 boys with autism and noted after the spray their eyes changed from being fixated on certain photos to behaving more like the control group of kids without autism. One researcher said this could be the start of a highly beneficial treatment.

"Well if we can show that oxytocin plays an important role and does make long term differences then that's an important step forward for treatment," said Lane Strathearn.

Surprisingly to the researchers, kids without autism who received the hormone nasal spray started tracking pictures with their eyes more like children with autism.

Researchers say they have a ways to go before making the treatment available for prescription.