University of Cambridge
Double-blind randomised crossover placebo-controlled pilot trial with intra-nasal Oxytocin to increase social cognitive function and reduce carer burden in frontotemporal dementia.
Alzheimer's Research UK
Loss of empathy and impaired social behaviours are some of the most devastating symptoms in frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and often lead to an alienation of patients and their families. There are currently no effective drug treatment options available to alleviate these symptoms in FTD. We will study whether a drug called Oxytocin can restore social behaviours in patients, and whether these improvements reduce stress in the patients carers. Oxytocin is a natural hormone in the brain, which has been shown to improve social behaviour and empathy in autism when given as a simple nasal spray. Similarly, a pilot study in FTD has shown short-term improvements of general behaviour by a single dose of Oxytocin. This study will see if more realistic social functioning can be sustained over several weeks from this drug. This pilot-stage clinical trial of Oxytocin measures changes in realistic social interaction changes as well carer burden in FTD over a 4 week period. If successful, our results would lead to a large multi-centre trial, with potentially a very strong impact on the well-being quality of life for patients and their families.