Hormone Linked To Aggression In Mice

New research with mice offers more evidence that a specific hormone plays a major role in people's ability to take care of others and avoid conflict. If the findings hold true for humans, scientists might get one step closer to a treatment for people with autism because they often lack an essential sense of empathy, researchers said. The study, by a team of Japanese and American researchers, found that when mice were genetically engineered to not process the hormone oxytocin, the males became more aggressive and the females often forgot to take care of their babies. Recent research has linked oxytocin -- no relation to the painkiller OxyContin -- to the ability of people to trust others. The new research is important because it expands on the role of oxytocin, said Paul Zak, director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif.

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