The Effect of Intranasal Administration of Oxytocin on Empathic Abilities. (20070766)

The recruitment status of this study is unknown because the information has not been verified recently.
Verified December 2008 by Shalvata Mental Health Center.
Recruitment status was  Recruiting
Sponsor:
Collaborator:
University of Haifa
Information provided by:
Shalvata Mental Health Center
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
NCT00813436
First received: December 22, 2008
Last updated: February 4, 2009
Last verified: December 2008
  Purpose

Empathy constitutes one prominent ability of social cognition, which represents the human capability of understanding mental state of the other, and responding in sympathetic way. Two sets of theoretical mechanisms were designed in order to explain how empathy is possible. Theory of Mind (ToM)and Simulation.People who suffer from schizophrenia frequently exhibit social dysfunction, preventing them of a normal integration in healthy human environments. Recently it had been discovered that impairment in empathy and a specific impairment in effective TOM are mostly associated with the social malfunctioning of people who suffer from schizophrenia. One of the biological substances most connected to social cognition is the neuromodulator Oxytocin. Among its known involvement in uterine contractions and lactating females, numerous recent studies have found an indispensable role for Oxytocin in various complex prosocial behaviors such as maternal behavior, attachment, partner preference and trust. In the proposed study, we plan to examine the influence of a single dose of intranasal Oxytocin on the two primary mechanisms of empathy, namely mentalizing (Theory of Mind) and Simulation, both in healthy people and in people who suffer from schizophrenia.


Condition Intervention Phase
Schizophrenia
Drug: Oxytocin (also: syntocinon, pitocin)
Drug: Placebo
Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Crossover Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: The Effect of Intranasal Administration of Oxytocin on Empathic Abilities of Healthy People and People Who Suffer From Schizophrenia.

Resource links provided by NLM:


Further study details as provided by Shalvata Mental Health Center:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • accuracy level (in percentage) and reaction time (in milliseconds) of emotional facial expressions recognition in a dynamic emotional facial expressions task. [ Time Frame: end of second trial for each subject ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Estimated Enrollment: 100
Study Start Date: May 2008
Estimated Study Completion Date: January 2010
Estimated Primary Completion Date: January 2010 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: 1
Oxytocin
Drug: Oxytocin (also: syntocinon, pitocin)
24 IU for each subject (3 puffs in each nostril, 4 IU in each puff). each subject will receive a single administration, 40 minuets before task start time.
Other Name: Novartis.
Placebo Comparator: 2
Placebo
Drug: Placebo
saline liquid, intranasally administered
Other Name: Weleda

Detailed Description:

Social cognition encompasses a wide spectrum of abilities, enabling us to function properly in interpersonal interactions. Empathy constitutes one prominent ability of social cognition, which represents the human capability of understanding mental state of the other, and responding in sympathetic way (Leiberg & Anders, 2006). Two sets of theoretical mechanisms were designed in order to explain how empathy is possible. Theory of Mind (ToM) is usually regarded as a more cognitive mechanism of empathy, in which a theory we posses regarding the other enable us to infer his mental state. 'Simulation' processing is another different mechanism of empathy. In contrast to the ToM perspective, the simulation perspective asserts that understanding the other's state of mind is achieved by an inner representation of that mental state in our mind, thus simulating his mental state. Therefore, the simulation theory may be associated with more affective aspects of empathy.

Schizophrenia encompasses a wide spectrum of psychotic disorders, characterized by severe cognitive, emotional and behavioral impairments. People who suffer from schizophrenia frequently exhibit social dysfunction, preventing them of a normal integration in healthy human environments. Recently it had been discovered that impairment in empathy and a specific impairment in effective TOM are mostly associated with the social malfunctioning of people who suffer from schizophrenia.

One of the biological substances most connected to social cognition is the neuromodulator Oxytocin. Among its known involvement in uterine contractions and lactating females, numerous recent studies have found an indispensable role for Oxytocin in various complex prosocial behaviors such as maternal behavior, attachment, partner preference and trust. It was suggested that Oxytocin may mediate the beneficial affect of social support, and is found strongly involved in different kinds of attachment. In a recent study, Domes et al. (2006) found that an intranasal administration of a single dose of Oxytocin enhanced the ability to infer mental states as conveyed by the eyes region (RMET, Baron-Cohen et al. 1995). These findings suggest a mediating role for the ability to use social cues in order to infer the other mental states. In the proposed study, we plan to examine the influence of a single dose of intranasal Oxytocin on the two primary mechanisms of empathy, namely mentalizing (Theory of Mind) and Simulation, both in healthy people and in people who suffer from schizophrenia. Mentalizing will be assessed by a variation of a validated ToM task, which requires cognitive and affective mentalizing. Simulation will be tested in two different tasks: emotion recognition via a dynamic paradigm of facial expressions, and recognition of biological motion, which necessitates the identification of the emotion conveyed in a video clips of point light walkers. Both of these latter tasks have been associated with simulation processing.

  Eligibility

Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 45 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes
Criteria

Inclusion Criteria (for schizophrenic patients):

  1. Range of age between 18 and 45 years.
  2. The patient is diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia by 2 independent psychiatrists, according to DSM-IV criteria.
  3. The participant is able to commit to 2 trials with 7 days interval.
  4. The participant has been informed orally and in writing and has given his/her written consent.
  5. When necessary, a psychiatrist has determined the patient's ability to agree, orally and in writing.

Inclusion Criteria (for healthy patients):

  1. Range of age between 18 and 45 years.
  2. The participant is able to commit to 2 trials with 7 days interval.
  3. The participant has been informed orally and in writing and Has given his/her written consent.

Exclusion Criteria (for schizophrenic patients):

  1. The participant is suffering from other acute, unstable, significant or untreated medical Illness, including arrhythmia and head injury.
  2. The participant is suffers from an axis II disorder of DSM-IV.
  3. The participant has history of alcohol or drug abuse.
  4. The participant is pregnant or breast-feeding.
  5. The participant suffers from mental retardation (IQ less than 75).
  6. The participant has any disturbance in visuomotor coordination.
  7. The participant has smoked a cigarette in the day of the trial.
  8. High suicidal risk, as determined by the treating physician.

Exclusion Criteria (for healthy patients):

  1. The participant is suffering from acute, unstable, significant or untreated medical Illness, including arrhythmia and head injury.
  2. The participant has history of alcohol or drug abuse.
  3. The participant is pregnant or breast-feeding.
  4. The participant suffers from mental retardation (IQ less than 75).
  5. The participant has any disturbance in visuomotor coordination.
  6. The participant has smoked a cigarette in the day of the trial.
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT00813436

Contacts
Contact: Meytal Fischer, Phd. Student 972-9-7478644 meytal.fischer@gmail.com
Contact: Simone Shamay-Tsoory, MA 972-4-8288778 sshamay@psy.haifa.ac.il

Locations
Israel
Shalvata Mental Health Center Recruiting
Hod Hasharon, Israel
Contact: Yechiel Levkovitz, MD    972-9-7478697    ylevk@clalit.org.il   
Principal Investigator: Yechiel Levkovitz, MD         
Sponsors and Collaborators
Shalvata Mental Health Center
University of Haifa
Investigators
Principal Investigator: Yechiel Levkovitz, MD Shalvata Mental Health Center
Study Director: Simone Shamay-Tsoory, MA University of Haifa
  More Information

No publications provided

Responsible Party: Dr. Yechiel Levkovitz, Shalvata Mental Health Center
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00813436     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 0007-07-SHA
Study First Received: December 22, 2008
Last Updated: February 4, 2009
Health Authority: Israel: Ministry of Health

Keywords provided by Shalvata Mental Health Center:
ToM
Theory of Mind
Simulation
Empathy
Oxytocin
Schizophrenia

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Schizophrenia
Mental Disorders
Schizophrenia and Disorders with Psychotic Features
Oxytocin
Oxytocics
Pharmacologic Actions
Physiological Effects of Drugs
Reproductive Control Agents
Therapeutic Uses

ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on October 22, 2014