A nasal spray device that delivers oxytocin to the brain could help those with autism or schizophrenia, say researchers. The team says its device delivers the hormone higher up the nose than other devices, making it more effective. Jim Drury reports.
This spray isn't for cold relief......it's delivering oxytocin to the brain. Norwegian firm Optinose says the hormone can improve the social function of sufferers of psychiatric disorders like autism and schizophrenia. SOUNDBITE (English) PER DJUPESLAND, CO-FOUNDER, CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER, OPTINOSE, SAYING: "To operate the device the patient inserts the device into the mouth and into one nostril. The patient takes a deep breath, closes the lips around the mouthpiece and exhales into the device. The airflow carries the particles deep into the nose beyond the nasal valve." UPSOT: ADVERT SOUNDBITE (English) PER DJUPESLAND, CO-FOUNDER, CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER, OPTINOSE, SAYING: "You are able to get the drug higher into the nasal cavity, so you are able to reach a larger fraction of the nasal mucosa and also to get a higher fraction up to the upper part of the nose, which is essential to achieve nose to brain transport." It also allows small doses to be delivered, which OptiNose believes may be safer for patients. University of Oslo scientists tested OptiNose twice daily on a group of males. SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL QUINTANA, POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCH FELLOW AT UNIVERSITY OF OSLO HOSPITAL, SAYING: "What we did in our experiment is that we presented people with pictures of faces. Some of these faces were angry, some of them were happy, and some of them had a neutral expression. And in our experiment we asked people to rate how angry or how happy these people were. In our experiment we found that people who were administered a low dose of intranasal oxytocin rated the neutral faces as less angry compared to when they were given the placebo spray." Those receiving oxytocin also proved less likely to avoid the gaze of people they were talking to - a potential sign of social dysfunction. Users with larger nasal cavities responded best. Further tests are planned before the device is approved to administer oxytocin.