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A hormone dubbed the "love drug" has been found to boost dads' involvement with their kids.

The naturally occurring hormone oxytocin is known to play a key role in bonding between babies and both male and female parents.

A new study has found that giving extra oxytocin to fathers increases their parental engagement.

Thirty-five fathers and their five-month-old babies were observed twice after being given oxytocin via a nasal spray and after administration of a placebo.

Researchers observed that after being given oxytocin, social interaction increased on behalf of both the fathers and their babies.

"Such findings have salient implications for the potential treatment of young children at risk for social difficulties, including premature infants, siblings of children with autism, or children of depressed mothers, without the need to administer drugs to a young infant," said lead researcher Dr Ruth Feldman from Bar-Ilan University in Israel.

The West Australian

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