Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oxytocin and PWS

At the most recent Foundation for Prader-Willi Research one of the presenters spoke about people with PWS having elevated oxytocin levels, a hormone that is associated with breastfeeding and bonding between mother and baby. It is often referred to as the "love hormone."

When I learned about this research at the FPWR conference it explained alot about Ellie. She loves animals and babies so much I call her my little mama bear. She is very concerned and tuned into other people's emotions and worries if she thinks someone is sad or hurt. She is so gentle and loving with her cat, dog and little sister.

Although these oxytocin levels being high may cause unwanted side effects, I do love how compassionate my sweet little 4 year old is for people and animals. This is one PWS side effect that I can appreciate. Below is an article about 12 year old Megan Deines, with PWS, who shows her compassion for animals every year on her birthday.

Do you find that your child is exceptionally compassionate? Does he/she seem to connect and bond with animals and babies easily?

by Maggie O'Mara

BOISE -- Giving comes easily for one 12-year-old girl in Meridian.
For the last four years, Megan Deines has asked for pet food donations instead of presents at her birthday parties. Why? She just loves animals and wants to help local shelters."I'm really into animals and I love them ever since I was little," said Megan Deines as she unloaded pounds of pet food at the Meridian Valley Humane Society. Megan has quite at few pets herself.  She has two bunnies, two dogs, and three cats.
At her last birthday party, she asked for dog and cat food. "The animals and shelters really need help," said Megan.  "I would get toys that I didn't need." She's been asking for shelter donations instead of birthday gifts at her parties for four years now. "I think her friends are pretty impressed that she does this because they can't imagine themselves giving up birthday presents," said Megan's mom, Laurie Deines. Megan has Prader Willi syndrome, a rare genetic problem that causes her to never feel full. "They always feel hungry and they would always like too much to eat," said Laurie.  "They have to live with very restricted diets, and constant supervision." Instead of focusing on food, Megan focuses on animals and helping them.
"She's always had this extraordinary connection with her pets," Laurie said.  "I think it just comes naturally to her." Megan also donated cash to the shelter. "I just love this, the idea that a child would give up birthday gifts to take care of animals in need," said Connie Petersen at the Meridian Valley Humane Society.  "I think it's just amazing that she would even consider doing that." "I don't think there is any way we can get her to stop doing this, I think this will be a yearly thing," said Megan's mom.
Young Girl Hero to Pets in Need

Idaho's NewsChannel 7

Posted on March 7, 2011 at 8:08 AM


  1. I have noticed that Olivia is extraordinarily affectionate, now that she can move. She's only 18 months old, but has never met a stranger. She will crawl to anyone and hold her arms up to be held. It's so unusual and I love to see it.

  2. Funny. In some e-mail conversation I have had with Dr. Miller, I believe that the oxytocin level is low, not high.

  3. Evan is still young, but he is much more "into" babies and animals than his younger brother was at the same age. He lights up when he sees people in general but especially when he sees babies. He is also gentle with them.