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Dr. Soonjo Hwang has article published in leading psychiatry journal

Soonjo Hwang, MD, the Director of Research for the Department of Psychiatry, will publish his clinical study results of intranasal oxytocin for youth with irritability in the April issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry (AJP). 

The article, “Neural Responses to Intranasal Oxytocin in Youths With Severe Irritability,” will also appear on the publication’s website – starting on April 1, 2024. 

The article discusses Dr. Hwang’s double-blind, randomized, clinical trial of intranasal Oxytocin for youth with severe irritability showed improvement in the clinical severity of the symptoms who received intranasal Oxytocin compared to placebo. Neuroimaging findings by functional MRI also showed significant changes at the neural level in the areas implicated in emotional responding and emotion regulation.

Dr. Hwang said it is wonderful to see AJP showed interest in his work because it’s a “top tier” psychiatry publication. All members of the American Psychiatric Association receive a copy of the magazine. 

“It’s a huge honor and privilege in our field. You can’t go any higher than the American Journal of Psychiatry. They don’t publish a lot of clinical trials anymore, so the fact that they decided to publish our clinical trial is very gratifying,” Dr. Hwang said. “This research has been a critical part of my career so far.”

Dr. Hwang has worked on various projects of intranasal oxytocin for youth since arriving at UNMC in 2014. He has presented his work in the United States at major conferences, including the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists (AACAP) and the Society of Biological Psychiatry (SOBP). Internationally, Dr. Hwang has presented his findings in South Korea, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. 

Dr. Hwang was the lead author of the article. Ryan Edwards, MD, Child and Adolescent Division Director for the Department of Psychiatry, is one of the co-authors. 

In addition to the presentations and previous publications, Dr. Hwang also wrote a book chapter on Irritability and Disruptive Behavior Disorders in the book “Irritability in Pediatric Psychopathology.” The book was released through Oxford University Press in 2019. 

While Dr. Hwang has been working on the topic of using Oxytocin in youth for years and found promising results worthy of publication, he said the work is always ongoing. 

 “Successful research always leads to more questions and more work to do,” Dr. Hwang said. “In our work of science, one study finding always leads to another question. That is how it works. You keep going.”  

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