An artificial version of the ‘love hormone’ probably isn’t the solution to our problems

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If there’s one hormone most people know by name, it’s oxytocin (not to be confused with the opioid oxycontin) — the so-called “love hormone” that we’re told creates maternal love, better relationships, and all that is warm and fuzzy and good. Scientists have created an artificial version that lasts longer and is less likely to have negative health effects, but these fixes might not be the solution to the chemical’s biggest problems.

Oxytocin is released during lactation and orgasms, and one widely cited (though later challenged) study suggested that whiff of the chemical can increase trust in a money-sharing game. It follows, then, that researchers think the hormone shows promise as treatment for social anxiety, autism, and borderline...

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