Oxytocin Doc in Fresno

People always ask me how they can try oxytocin, and I always suggest they find a doctor willing to prescribe it off-label. Fresno's Dr. Matt French is their man.

I've seen his name come up before in news alerts for oxytocin. According to this news article, Dr. French "prescribes oxytocin to women who feel they don't produce enough of it naturally." It profiles one patient who has been taking oxytocin daily for months.

I think such women would be better served by teaching their menfolk how to make them feel cherished, loved and well-rested. But that's just me. What do you think?


Maybe Love Can Cure Cancer!

New research shows that love (aka oxytocin) may be able to help cure cancer.

I tend to find anecdotes of people healing themselves through meditation, good thoughts, etc. as too woo-woo. But here is science finding that imbalances in peptide hormones can cause cancer - and that rebalancing these hormones can maybe cure it.

Chris Easton, PhD, and graduate student Lucy Ca, of The AustralianNational  University, are researching PAM, an enzyme that activates oxytocin and calcitonin, which promotes cell proliferation.

High levels of calcitonin are found in patients with small-cell lung cancer. They found that in cultures of this cancer, controlling PAM reduced levels of calcitonin.

The article begins, "Research into an enzyme that produces a hormone released after sex has inspired ANU chemists to create new treatments for small-cell lung cancer."

Unfortunately, the article doesn't make clear how oxytocin plays into this, if at all, and I'm not finding the study itself. My guess is that the key is in the balancing of peptide hormones. If both oxytocin and calcitonin are influenced by PAM, maybe more oxytocin leads to less calcitonin?

Chemistry experts out there, please weigh in!

Childbirth Drug Could Have Off-Label Uses

Monash University researcher Dr. Michelle McIntosh hopes to create an aerosol delivery system for oxytocin to replace oxytocin injections commonly used to stop bleeding after delivery of a baby.  She's received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop this drug delivery method, which could eliminate the need for sterile needles and their disposal, as well as for keeping oxytocin refrigerated.

According to the Monash University press release,

“Oxytocin is an ideal candidate for delivery via the lungs. It is a highly potent drug, so only a small amount would be required to enter the systemic circulation. And its demonstrated absorptiveness in the nose and mouth suggests a passage through the huge absorptive surface of the lung is unlikely to present obstacles,” added Dr McIntosh.

Of course, inhaled oxytocin also affects the social circuits in the brain. Psychiatrists and psychotherapists are already testing oxytocin inhalants to help with a variety of psychiatric disorders, and this system could also make it easier for them.

And then, there are all the people out there dying to try oxycin ...


Oxytocin Link to Prader-Willi Syndrome

In addition to all the interesting things oxytocin does to our brains, it also seems to be involved in helping us feel satiated after we eat.

When fat from food reaches the stomach, the stomach releases CCK, a hormone that travels up the vagus nerve to the brain, triggering a release of oxytocin. Oxytocin travels back down the vagus nerve and causes the smooth muscles of the stomach to contract, leading to that full feeling.

A new study found that oxytocin could treat some of the symptoms of Prader-Willi Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that includes symptoms of social deficit similar to autism as well as constant hunger.

For a long time, I've believed that the same oxytocin release that makes the stomach contract also activates the social centers of the brain, explaining that deep connection between food and love -- and why we use eating, especially eating things like ice cream, to heal heartbreak or loneliness.

Maithé Tauber of the Centre de Référence du Syndrome de Prader-Willi, France, found that after a single dose of oxytocin, Prader-Willi patients experienced increased trust, decreased sadness and showed less disruptive behavior.

It also decreased how much they ate, according to Science.

This is excellent news for people with this syndrome. Before you go online to try to buy oxytocin to lose weight, remember that people with Prader-Willi have abnormalities in the production of oxytocin. You can get the same benefits from oxytocin-producing activities like cuddling, calling your mom (if you are close to her) or a moderate amount of vanilla fudge.

"Oxytocin may be useful to increase trust in others and decrease disruptive behaviours in patients with Prader-Willi syndrome: a randomised placebo-controlled trial in 24 patients"
Maithé Tauber, Carine Mantoulan, Pierre Copet, Joseba Jauregui, Genevieve Demeer, Gwenaëlle Diene, Bernadette Rogé, Virginie Laurier, Virginie Ehlinger, Catherine Arnaud, Catherine Molinas and Denise Thuilleaux
Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases


Long-term Ecstasy Not So Great

New research shows that ecstasy, or MDMA, creates what may be permanent changes in the brain.

Ecstasy works in part by releasing oxytocin into the brain, producing those feelings of unity and connection. Over time, unfortunately, it seems to make the brain hyper-excitable, leading to less efficiency.

Ronald Cowan, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University scanned the brains of subjects who had used ecstasy and those who had never tried MDMA.

They found increased brain activation in three brain areas associated with visual processing in Ecstasy users with the highest lifetime exposure to the drug. The findings were consistent with the investigators' predictions based on results from animal models: that Ecstasy use is associated with a loss of serotonin signaling, which leads to hyper-excitability (increased activation) in the brain.

The hyper-excitability suggests a loss in brain efficiency, Cowan said, "meaning that it takes more brain area to process information or perform a task."

It's not clear just what about the drug causes these effects, but it's worth noting not only for MDMA users but also for those wondering about dosing themselves with oxytocin.

Oxytocin for Couples Therapy? Why Not?

A chiropractor in Phoenix is giving patients oxytocin lozenges to help them connect better.

I've written before about studies examining whether oxytocin could make couples therapy go better by increasing empathy.

Sorry to redirect you, folks, but this other -- paying -- blog gig I have is all about the page views.

Please read my story, The Couple's Love Drug. It has links to my previous posts, as well as to a good article on Time.com and the story about the chiropractor.

New Cuddle Drug: Meth

In Time, Maya Salavitz reports on a new study indicating that:

... at least in low, oral doses — the effects of methamphetamine may be much more like those of ecstasy than previously believed, increasing sociability and playfulness, and belying its bad name. What's more, the study finds that the empathetic behavior exhibited by ecstasy users may result from a reduced ability to read certain social cues, rather than any enhancement in sharing other people's feelings.

Okay, the MDMA part makes sense to me. Oxytocin (released by MDMA) calms my amygdala, making me less vigilant. So, I can relax. In fact, this seems to be what happened, according to the article:
"We found that the drug actually decreased the capacity to read negative emotion, specifically fear," says Bedi. Reducing the detection of fearful faces might increase "empathetic" behavior — even while reducing the ability to accurately read feelings — by making people more likely to get closer to strangers, rather than maintaining distance because of fear.

BTW: The researchers cautioned that dosage and safety were critical elements of this study. If you're huffing on the meth at home, you might not feel as huggy.

More Info on Ecstasy and PTSD

A small, phase 2 pilot study found that MDMA, also known as Ecstasy, might help treating people with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Michael Mithoefer, MD, a psychiatrist in private practice in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, was the lead author on the study, 20 people received MDMA or placebo along with two days  of "experimental" therapy. The idea was to use the drug to reduce subjects' fear and reactivity to traumatic events.

Mithoefer told Medscape

"We didn't want to just test the drug," explained Dr. Mithoefer. "We wanted to test the drug's ability to catalyze psychotherapy. It's important that people realize that MDMA should be used in the right way, and that it's not a stand-alone solution for PTSD."

He found that subjects didn't need to take the drug every time they had therapy, nor for a long period of time. It was able to get them over the therapeutic hump enough to make progress; they could then continue to progress on their own.

Keith Young, MD, vice chair of research in the Department of Psychiatry at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, who was interviewed for the article, noted that the effects shown might be due to the release of oxytocin that MDMA causes, and that it might be better to simply dose PTSD patients with oxytocin.

The study was paid for by Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS).

See two earlier posts on the use of Ecstasy to treat PTSD:

Ecstasy Helps PTSD Treatment

Ecstasy Could Be PTSD Breakthrough

Viagra and Oxytocin A Hot Topic at Edguider Forum

Here’s a post from Paul, a moderator for the Edguider.com forum. He monitors the forum and has been seeing an increasing interest for oxytocin among men with erectile dysfunction:

A discussion in the Edguider Forum on how oxytocin helps men decrease their sexual performance anxiety and erectile dysfunction has become one of the most popular topics.

Meyer Jackson of the University of Wisconsin's Madison School of Medicine and Public Health found that sildenafil, AKA Viagra, increased the amount of oxytocin released by the pituitary glands of rats. It's very likely that it does the same thing for men.

Sildenafil is the active ingredient in Viagra. It was always thought to be a physical reactive drug by helping increase the blood flow in and around the penis arteries allowing the penis to become hard for sexual intercourse.

Enzymes in the body can act like a braking system for hormones like oxytocin, controlling the release and also dampening the excitation of cells. One enzyme, PDE5 (phosphodiesterase type 5), can also contract blood vessels limiting the amount of blood flow.

According to the Daily Mail,

Viagra overcomes impotence by blocking phosphodiesterase type 5, a chemical that limits blood flow. Scientists have now discovered that this chemical also regulates the release of 'love hormones' in the brain.

Edguider.com is an online forum for men to discuss all related news and information regarding erectile dysfunction, Viagra and other therapies. Here is an example of what the members of the forum are saying about oxytocin:

 The drug was wonderful: oxytocin has anti anxiety effects, and stimulates various types of positive social interaction. I've never felt so calm, confident and relaxed. This may be a God's send if you suffer from sexual performance anxiety, like me. The effect lasted the whole evening.”

Read more: I tried oxytocin and Levitra yesterday

Oxytocin Inhalant Helps Chronic Headache

Trigemina announced the results of a small clinical trial of intranasal oxytocin for headache. Twenty-five patients  with chronic daily headache who didn't get relief from any available remedies received either oxytocin or a placebo.

While 47 percent of people treated with oxytocin reported at least a 50 percent reduction in pain, only 11 percent of those getting the placebo got relief.

According to the press release, Trigemina researchers don't think it's as simple as oxytocin opening up blood vessels in the head.  Instead, inhalants seem to be able to deliver medication to the trigeminal nerve and other parts of the central nervous system.

According to the company, "Trigemina, Inc. exploits a newly discovered pathway that allows for targeting of the trigeminal nerves and central nervous system, allowing direct access to pain mediating sites and minimizing off-target side effects. Trigemina’s drug development pipeline includes intranasal oxytocin (TI-001) and TI-002, which may offer an alternative for the massive opiate market."