A nasal spray containing a hormone that makes women more maternal and men less shy apparently can help those with autism make eye contact and interact better with others, according to a provocative study released Monday.
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The increasing number of children diagnosed with autism makes this article by Rob Stein one of importance and hope. Clearly, the research findings of the effects of oxytocin in autistic individuals are primitive because the factual information in the article is scarce and somewhat repetitive. I would have rated the article higher if it would have provided a brief definition of oxytocin. The author makes the assumption that we, the readers are well informed of the effects of oxytocin in the human body. Furthermore, the article does not incorporate diverse perspectives of this new medical research. The experts, doctors, and institutes cited seem optimistic and excited about the research but no where are the adverse effects of oxytocin mentioned, which personally, would be a key factor in whether the research is ethical and worth investigating further. The association made throughout the article between oxytocin and improved social skills for autistic children is erroneous because there is not sufficient evidence to make such claims.
Overall, I do understand the purpose of the article, which is to assure the general public that the increasing rates of autism amongst children is not being overlooked. The time and money being invested in medical research is worthwhile because scientists are making discoveries that carry a great deal of potential.