The spray, which has been studied for more than five years, is now being tested on men, women, and children. 

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neuro-developmental disorder that nearly one in 100 people in Japan have. The symptoms of ASD typically include trouble with social interactions, emotional understanding, and communication, which often makes it challenging for those on the spectrum to thrive in, and be accepted by, society.

In a country like Japan, where social interaction and cooperation are key, it can be especially difficult for those on the spectrum to be regarded as successful members of the community. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for autism, and while there are some treatments to teach children the skills necessary to cope, such as speech therapy, there are not many options for adults.

But now there’s some good news to look forward to: In the near future, there may be a treatment option for men, women, and children who wish to improve their social skills. For the last five years, researchers at the University of Tokyo in Japan have been studying the effects of a nasal spray that could help reduce the difficulties of everyday social interactions for those with mild symptoms of ASD.

The spray contains oxytocin, which is often called the “happy hormone”, and is said to have an effect on social bonding, relationships, and even a person’s willingness to interact with others. And according to this long-term study, it also appears to have an influence on a patient’s communication skills. During previous trials in which the spray was administered to 40 adult men, researchers found that it was able to improve the participants’ ability to recognize emotions in others.

The spray has yet to be tested on women and children, however, so the leader of the study, Dr. Hidenori Yamatsue, is now working to expand the trials to include patients of both genders and of all ages to certify the safety of the spray as a general treatment for symptoms of ASD. The clinical trials are now at the second level of testing, and Dr. Yamatsue is aiming for the spray to be available by 2023.

Since those who experience symptoms of ASD often face additional challenges such as difficulties with sensory processing and even physical ailments, a little help with social troubles could be a real blessing. While the practical availability of the spray is still a few years off, it seems promising, and perhaps could be something to look forward to in the future.

Source: Livedoor News via Hachima Kiko
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