Low-Cost Blood Pressure Drug Improves Brain Function in Individuals with Autism

Posted in Health Psychology

Drugs known as “beta-blockers” have been used since the 1960s as a low-cost, safe and effective means to lower heart rate and control blood pressure. But now researchers from the University of Missouri School of Medicine and the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders have discovered a version of the drug known as propranolol could provide cognitive and social benefits for those living with autism spectrum disorder.  One in 59 children in the United States has been diagnosed with a form of autism spectrum disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The signs of autism begin in early childhood and can affect individuals differently. However, many with autism share similar symptoms, including difficulties with social communication. That is the core symptom researchers targeted with a pilot study to look at how this drug affected processing of language in the brain.  “Propranolol is used for test anxiety and performance anxiety,...

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