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The effects of oxytocin on social cognition and behaviour in frontotemporal dementia


Jesso, S., Morlog, D., Ross, S., Pell, M. D., Pasternak, S. H., Mitchell, D. G. V., Kertesz, A., Finger, E. C.


Brain: A Journal Of Neurology, Volume: 134, No.: Pt 9, Pages.: 2493-2501

Year of Publication



Patients with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia demonstrate abnormalities in behaviour and social cognition, including deficits in emotion recognition. Recent studies suggest that the neuropeptide oxytocin is an important mediator of social behaviour, enhancing prosocial behaviours and some aspects of emotion recognition across species. The objective of this study was to assess the effects of a single dose of intranasal oxytocin on neuropsychiatric behaviours and emotion processing in patients with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized cross-over design, 20 patients with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia received one dose of 24 IU of intranasal oxytocin or placebo and then completed emotion recognition tasks known to be affected by frontotemporal dementia and by oxytocin. Caregivers completed validated behavioural ratings at 8 h and 1 week following drug administrations. A significant improvement in scores on the Neuropsychiatric Inventory was observed on the evening of oxytocin administration compared with placebo and compared with baseline ratings. Oxytocin was also associated with reduced recognition of angry facial expressions by patients with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia. Together these findings suggest that oxytocin is a potentially promising, novel symptomatic treatment candidate for patients with behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia and that further study of this neuropeptide in frontotemporal dementia is warranted.;

Bibtex Citation

@article{Jesso_2011, doi = {10.1093/brain/awr171}, url = {}, year = 2011, month = {aug}, publisher = {Oxford University Press ({OUP})}, volume = {134}, number = {9}, pages = {2493--2501}, author = {S. Jesso and D. Morlog and S. Ross and M. D. Pell and S. H. Pasternak and D. G. V. Mitchell and A. Kertesz and E. C. Finger}, title = {The effects of oxytocin on social cognition and behaviour in frontotemporal dementia}, journal = {Brain} }


behavior, behavioral symptoms, cognition, double-blind method, drug effects, drug therapy, facial expression, frontotemporal dementia, humans, intranasal, neuropsychological tests, oxytocin, pharmacology, physiopathology, placebos, recognition psychology, therapeutic use

Countries of Study


Types of Dementia

Fronto Temporal (also known as Pick’s Disease)

Types of Study

Randomised Controlled Trial

Type of Outcomes


Type of Interventions

Pharmaceutical Interventions

Pharmaceutical Interventions