It sounds like the plot for another Batman sequel: The villain sprays Gotham City with a trust hormone and people rush to give him all their money. Banks, the stock market and even governments collapse.
Farfetched? Swiss and American scientists demonstrate in new experiments how a squirt of the &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/science/19/94/377/12309_milk.html ' target=_blank>hormone oxytocin stimulates trusting behavior in humans, and they acknowledge that the possibility of abuse can't be ignored.
"Of course, this finding could be misused," said Ernst Fehr of the University of Zurich, the senior researcher in the study, which appears in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature. "I don't think we currently have such abuses. However, in the future it could happen."
Other scientists say the new research raises important questions about oxytocin's potential as a therapy for conditions like &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2001/07/31/11377.html ' target=_blank>autism, in which trust is diminished. Or, perhaps the hormone's activity could be reduced to treat more rare diseases, like Williams syndrome, in which children approach strangers fearlessly, reports ABC News.
Better deception through chemistry may be making its way to a nose near you, reports a team of neurochemists.
Oxytocin, a hormone used to stimulate contractions during labor, also appears to be a trust-builder when inhaled, says the team led by Michael Kosfeld of Switzerland's University of Zurich. The report on the hormone, known in its synthetic form as Pitocin, appears in Thursday's journal Nature.