(HealthDay News) — Overweight/obese men receiving a dose of oxytocin nasal spray act less impulsively and exert more control over their behavior compared with men receiving placebo, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of The Endocrine Society, held from April 1 to 4 in Boston.

Franziska Plessow, PhD, from Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues performed a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover pilot study involving 10 healthy overweight/obese men. Participants completed a stop-signal paradigm 15 minutes after receiving a nasal dose of oxytocin or placebo. The paradigm assesses strategy and ability to suppress behavioral impulses. Participants categorize stimuli by pressing response keys, and when a stop signal appears are instructed to withhold their response.

The researchers found that subjects showed increased reaction times in the go task after receiving oxytocin versus placebo (P= 0.012). Under oxytocin versus placebo, fewer stop errors were displayed by the participants (P= 0.049).

“Our preliminary results in men are promising,” Plessow said in a statement. “Oxytocin nasal spray showed no strong side effects and is not as invasive as obesity surgery.”

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