Love a doctor to treat anxiety?

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London, Feb 15 (UNI) When Munnabhai showed what 'Jaadu Ki Jhappi' can do, we all loved him but no one took him too seriously.

Researchers at the University of California, however, are studying whether the brain hormone released with soft touches, hugs and love gazes and the bond between a mother and her newborn baby could help patients with schizophrenia, social anxiety and a variety of other disorders.

Oxytocin, also known as ''love hormone'', is associated with pair bonding, including mother-infant and male-female bonds, increased paternal involvement with children, and monogamy in certain rodents, the science daily quoted lead researcher Kai MacDonald as saying.

In humans, the hormone was released during hugging and pleasant physical touch, and plays a part in the human sexual response cycle.

Eye-to-eye communication was critical to intimate emotional communication for all kind of emotions -- love, fear, trust, anxiety, Dr MacDonald said.

The researchers revealed that people with schizophrenia or autism often avoided eye-to-eye gaze, focussed on less releavant areas of the face and abjured meaningful social contact.

Use of oxytocin might act on the brains of schizophrenics, and ultimately increase the level of trust or emotional contact between patient and physician or with patients and significant others.

According to previous studies, oxytocin doses reduced activation of brain circuits involved in fear, increased levels of eye contact trust and generosity.

''A hug or a touch that causes a releases of this hormone might change brain signals,'' the lead researcher said, adding, ''We want to know if oxytocin can also impact social and emotional behavior in patients with psychiatric disorders.'' UNI XC SYU VC1516

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