A new nasal spray currently being trialled could become a breakthrough treatment for autism, reports say.
Patients currently undertaking the trial for the synthetic oxytocin nasal spray – also known as the “cuddle hormone” – have experienced increased levels of responsiveness and awareness.
Professor Adam Guastella, from the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre, has said that the trial so far has proved to be extremely promising.
“The sorts of results that we have in our trials suggested children show more responsiveness and awareness of the important social information in a relationship”, he said.
“They seem to be able to remember that information more effectively.”
The mother of has already seen improvements in her son, Hayden, who is currently trialling the new medication.
Hayden Blue, who was diagnosed with autism at age two and is now trialling the spray, has already shown noticeable improvements.
“Hayden was happy to be included in a group, he wouldn’t go off on his own and his eye contact was better,” said his mother, Christine.
“His general engagement with another person is better.”
The researchers also believe that the new drug, predicted to reach the market in less than five years, could prove useful in the treatment of anxiety and other neurological conditions.
Autism, commonly associated with difficulties in social interaction, is a general term for a complex group of disorders that affect brain development.