Study finds ‘sociability’ hormone didn’t help kids with autism
Children with autism didn’t benefit from an experimental therapy made with a hormone thought to promote social bonding, researchers reported Wednesday in the largest study of its kind.
“This is really a major setback,” said Dr. Linmarie Sikich, a Duke University researcher who led the multi-site U.S. study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “We were really hoping to find a benefit and just couldn’t see it anywhere.”
The U.S. government-funded study used a synthetic form of oxytocin, a hormone made in the brain that stimulates uterus contractions and helps mothers bond with their newborns.
Experiments in mice have suggested the hormone may promote sociability, and small studies have hinted that it might have similar effects in children with autism, who often struggle with social interaction.
Nearly 300 …
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