Just a chat with mom can trigger release of a brain hormone that fights stress, say researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The hormone, oxytocin, is associated with human bonding and is released during breastfeeding, hugging and orgasm. But the Wisconsin study found that when stressed young girls spoke by phone with their mothers for 15 minutes, elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol dropped and levels of bond-building oxytocin rose. The researchers assigned 61 girls, ages 7-12, to give a speech or do math problems publically, both big stressors in this age group. Afterward, a third of the girls were reunited with their mothers for hugs and soothing; another third spoke to their moms on the phone and the third group watched a movie. Tests showed that cortisol levels immediately tumbled while oxytocin increased among the girls who hugged or phoned their mothers, while cortisol continued to spiral up in the movie group. Researchers used to believe that only physical contact boosted oxytocin, but the Wisconsin group now thinks that talking will also do the trick, and will work for adults as well as kids.