Intended for healthcare professionals



BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 24 February 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1009

The social behaviour of 13 patients with highly functioning autism improved after they inhaled oxytocin (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2010; published 16 February, doi:10.1073/pnas.0910249107). In a virtual ball passing game, the intervention group processed social cues better than the control group. A second test involved attentiveness to important visual cues when viewing pictures of human faces, and again the intervention group performed better than controls. Despite individual variation in social responses, the authors say the treatment effect was significant enough to merit further investigation of long term oxytocin.

Children aged 8 who are mixed handed have a twofold increase in the odds of having difficulties with language and school performance, compared with right handed children. Eight years later, these 16 year olds continued to have more language and school problems, often displayed the inattention symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and had symptom scores indicating probable psychiatric disturbances. The authors suggest that early identification of mixed handed children could enable better recognition of problems (Pediatrics 2010;125:e340-8, doi:10.1542/peds.2009-1165).

Daily oral medication for some people with schizophrenia could become …

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