TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — There could soon be a treatment for neuropsychiatric disorders that cause social deficits---such as autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia.
If the treatment is successful, it would be the first medication to treat these disorders.
People with the disorders have no drugs available to treat their difficult and, at times, debilitating symptoms. As of now, the most effective treatment is cognitive or behavioral therapy.
But that may change, the University of Oklahoma has been awarded a five-year, $1.8 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to research to find a treatment, focusing on oxytocin.
They say oxytocin is most associated with various types of social interactions.
“We believe that understanding these mechanisms by which oxytocin is activating the cells of the brain, will help us understand and level up therapies to reduce the social deficits in people with autism spectrum disorder and other neuropsychiatric disorders,” Mohiuddin Ahmad, OU Health Sciences Center researcher, said.
CEO of the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy, Joe Dorman, says this research is vital and could positively impact the quality of life for a person with a neuropsychiatric disease.
“If we can see this research go forward to find possible ways to help individuals, and to cut down on many of the issues that we face in society,” Dorman said. “That’s going to have a positive difference going forward for the workforce, for the individuals to have a high quality of life.”
The research is predicted to increase social behavior and provide relief for those experiencing social withdrawal due to neuropsychiatric disorders.