View Full Version : oxytocin spray and fear

01-01-2006, 09:55 AM


analysis of love has moved from the embrace of poets into the arms of science. A recent series of precise studies

reveal some of the key brain areas and molecules, like oxytocin, involved in the ability to love and bond with

others, according to December's Brain Briefings. This research creates a better understanding of how the brain

controls love and bonding, which is critical for species survival. In addition, the work may help researchers find

ways to treat autism, anxiety and phobias.
Scientists have long been intrigued by the hormone oxytocin, which

plays a role in complex social behavior. The hormone is part of a system in the brain that controls the formation of

emotional bonds, and plays a role during sex, childbirth and breastfeeding. Now, scientists at the National

Institutes for Health and Justus-Liebig University in Germany have discovered that oxytocin, which some have dubbed

the hormone of love, can make volunteers less fearful.
In a paper published in the Journal of Neuroscience,

researchers found that volunteers who had oxytocin sprayed into their noses had less fear response when shown

frightening images than those given a placebo. Volunteers’ fear reactions were measured through a very sensitive

brain-imaging technique that revealed less activity in the part of the brain known as the amygdala. Diminished

activity in the amygdala has long been linked to increased sociability and decreased fear, wrote the researchers,

whose work was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. The scientists said the research suggested the

possibility of using the hormone to treat serious mental disorders characterized by increased anxiety and

== comment follows

Hello there. Though not an ordained researcher per se, I've been working a bit

on this very hormone/neurochemical myself.

A synopsis of my first-hand oxytocin research: the most noticeable

effect indeed was reduction of acute fear response. Administered during a horror flick, oxytocin seemingly did away

with any jumpy jolty heart-racing fear-like symptoms. It was strange indeed not to experience that set of familiar

feelings during an admittedly frightening movie. That said, oxytocin, at least at the doses permitted by intranasal

delivery (and we're talking up to 10-15 puffs per nostril), has not represented a significant breakthrough in

treating my social anxiety, and in the end, does not measure up to ethanol in terms of anxiolytic effect. A further

drawback (in its pure form at least) is its extremely short duration of action, 1-3 minutes I would estimate, though

I do believe others have suggested a longer duration of action. That said, it is a very promising compound, and its

reputed effects are, I believe, real. In terms of further inquiry, one very simple thing I'd like to be made aware

of is the standard level of circulating oxytocin in your typical human, and to what levels they spike when mom

suckles you, your friend high-fives you, etc. I would, naturally, adjust doses accordingly...

Link to

oxytocin blog follows