New 'Cuddle Drug' Cures Paranoia, Mistrust, Dissent
Technology Articles 10/11/09
By: Chris Capps
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,Ã¢â‚¬Â the old adage goes, but a new drug recently tested has been shown to cause people to trust strangers even if they are betrayed multiple times. The Ã¢â‚¬Å“cuddle drugÃ¢â‚¬Â known as oxytocin is a chemical which, if used, will activate regions of the brain used to determine if others are trustworthy. The hormone occurs naturally in the brain, but was only recently synthesized into a drug which can be administered to cure social disorders and, in several cases, civil unrest.
The drug has been demonstrated already in tests run by Dr. Thomas Baumgartner of Zurich University to show great promise in the field of chemically Ã¢â‚¬Å“improving sociability.Ã¢â‚¬Â It works by improving sociability, as well as baseless trust, agreement, and fearlessness in not only simple social situations, but in sexual and investment situations as well. In FMRI scans, Oxytocin was documented to reduce synapse activity in the amygdala, an area of the brain dedicated to recognizing danger and producing fear, as well as the stratium which helps decide future behavior. New drug
addiction treatment methods are being explored every day, all
interest of saving addicts from a lifetime of regret.
Trials also included social tests, wherein participants played a game of investment against other players by selecting Ã¢â‚¬Å“brokersÃ¢â‚¬Â who would either gain them money and give it to them or Ã¢â‚¬Å“stealÃ¢â‚¬Â the money, which should have triggered mistrust in participants. Those in the control group obviously didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t re-invest with Ã¢â‚¬Å“thievesÃ¢â‚¬Â while those who were taking oxytocin were eager to give more money to them. Interestingly also, participants would not use computers again that consistently lost money, only people. This strongly suggests that people were keen to trust all human beings, and not just bad at making investments. Albert Einstein said Ã¢â‚¬Å“Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This drug, therefore, creates insanity in its users so they are more Ã¢â‚¬Å“acceptableÃ¢â‚¬Â in the eyes of these scientists. Certainly there are those who would agree. What would life be like if more people were like those in the experiments? What if bad investments were something you threw more money at? It would be interesting if the drug also affected the subjectÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ability to lie.
Not all of the applications are scary, however. The amygdala is extremely active in the brains of people with social phobias and those with autism. These two diseases in particular could have some applications for this drug and bring the amygdala back to a more comfortable level for the patient. They may find it easier to trust and even love in a world they feel trapped away from. Although what abuses could such a drug have? For the first time a drug could be secretly given to us that would force us to trust people we would have normally avoided. Still, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no clear reason to be panicking just yet. Oxytocin cannot be ingested, as the gastrointestinal tract destroys the chemical properties in it, but it could be administered in a gaseous or nasal spray form. It has also been reported effective through intravenous injection, but the effectiveness is eroded in the bloodstream. No reports of it being abused have been reported, but the mass investment frauds of late are suspiciously similar to the experiments mentioned by Dr. Baumgartner. While no Ã¢â‚¬Å“cuddle drugÃ¢â‚¬Â is suspected for our current crisis, is now the right time for its release?