Many studies have already shown that the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin could play a role in treating cognitive disorders that range from autism to schizophrenia. A promising new study published last month by researchers at the Tokyo University of Science suggests it could even reverse Alzheimer’s disease. That terrible ailment that afflicts so many elderly people across the world, is known to have as one of its causes a build up in the brain of the protein amyloid β. It is thought that this protein affects the signaling ability of neurons in the brain. In this latest study using mouse models, it appeared that oxytocin somehow reverses the degradation of this neuronal signaling ability caused by the build up of amyloid β, although exactly how it manages this feat is yet to be established.
According to a report in Science Daily :
Prof Saitoh remarks, “This is the first study in the world that has shown that oxytocin can reverse Aβ-induced impairments in the mouse hippocampus.” This is only a first step and further research remains to be conducted in vivo in animal models and then humans before sufficient knowledge can be gathered to reposition oxytocin into a drug for Alzheimer’s. But, Prof Saitoh remains hopeful. He concludes, “At present, there are no sufficiently satisfactory drugs to treat dementia, and new therapies with novel mechanisms of action are desired. Our study puts forth the interesting possibility that oxytocin could be a novel therapeutic modality for the treatment of memory loss associated with cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. We expect that our findings will open up a new pathway to the creation of new drugs for the treatment of dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease.”
Although oxytocin is not a pheromone, it is a hormone molecule that does appear to have a similar role in mating and attraction, in that it appears to influence these social behaviors (and many others) in an invisible way and can be transmitted internasally from person to person.