Monday, August 6, 2012

Oxytocin Can Strengthen the Father-Infant Bond

When the hormone oxytocin is given to the fathers of 5-month-old infants, it increases the fathers' social interactions with their infants, and the infants respond accordingly. So reported Omri Weisman, Ph.D., of Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and his colleagues on July 16 in Biological Psychiatry.

Other studies of oxytocin have also shown that when it is given as a medication, it can enhance social interactions between people. Furthermore, oxytocin administration is being tested to see whether it might help individuals with deficits in social functioning—for example, those with social anxiety disorder or autism spectrum disorders. Read about that research in Psychiatric News.

How oxytocin that is normally present in the brain and body works is also being explored. Scientists found recently, for example, that women who have a particular variant of the oxytocin gene are more anxious and respond more to stress than do women with another variant of the gene. That research can also be read in Psychiatric News.

(Image: Elzbieta Sekowsha/