Japan Group Moving to Commercialize Nasal Spray Drug for ASD

Society Lifestyle Science Technology

Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Pref., Jan. 22 (Jiji Press)--A Japanese group is trying to put into practical use a nasal spray drug to improve symptoms of autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.

The group, led by Hamamatsu University School of Medicine Prof. Hidenori Yamasue, is conducting a clinical trial of the treatment involving oxytocin, whose nicknames include "happiness hormone."

The oxytocin spray is drawing attention from ASD patients and their families throughout Japan, because an effective treatment has yet to be established for ASD, marked by problems with interpersonal communication, empathy and cooperativeness with others.

According to Yamasue, ASD, which includes autism and Asperger's syndrome, affects one in every 100 people. Symptoms appear between two and three years old, but many people are not diagnosed until they reach adulthood.

ASD affects more men than women. Based on this, Yamasue came up with a theory that oxytocin, a hormone playing a role in womb contractions and release of breast milk, may be linked to cooperativeness.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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