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Oxytocin Processing Linked to Depression

A new study has found that women who were depressed had irregularities in their release of oxytocin.

The study led by Jill Cyranowski of the University of Pittsburgh compared the levels of oxytocin in the blood of women as they did two activities: a guided imagery exercise that focused on love, and a stress test.

The tasks didn't produce any changes in oxytocin levels among depressed women or the control group. However, the depressed women showed more irregular pulses of oxytocin than the controls did.

This research shows two important things: First, that oxytocin problems could be connected to depression. If that's the case, oxytocin therapies could be helpful. Second, it bolsters other research that seems to tell us that it's not how much oxytocin you have coursing through your body and brain, but the change in levels.

It's simplistic but useful to talk about "boosting your oxytocin," and I do use this verbiage. But oxytocin's social signaling is much more complicated.

Evidence of Dysregulated Peripheral Oxytocin Release