Drug Found to Boost Memory of Autism Sufferers

Wednesday, 17 Apr 2013 04:48 PM

By Nick Tate

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
A drug commonly used to treat high blood pressure, anxiety, and panic attacks has been found to improve the working memory of people with autism spectrum disorders.

Research by University of Missouri-Columbia investigators has determined propranolol may help improve the language abilities and social functioning of people with autism who typically have difficulty communicating with others because they process language, facial expressions, and social cues differently.
 
The researchers noted working memory affects individuals’ ability to retain information for a short period of time, allowing them to follow conversations, complete puzzles, and remember directions, for instance.
 
Neurologist David Beversdorf explained that the drug may calm nervous responses that hinder autistics’ ability to respond appropriately to stressful situations.

Special: How One Deck of Cards Has Shown to Improve Memory.
 
"Seeing a tiger might signal a fight or flight response. Nowadays, a stressor such as taking an exam could generate the same response, which is not helpful," said Beversdorf, an associate professor in the Departments of Radiology and Neurology in the MU School of Medicine. "Propranolol works by calming those nervous responses, which is why some people benefit from taking the drug to reduce anxiety."
 
For the study, researchers tracked the effects of propranolol on 14 young adult patients of the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. The found it greatly enhanced the working memory of those given the drug, but it had little to no effect on a second group of 13 study participants who do not have autism.
 
The researchers said the findings suggest that doctors not prescribe propranolol solely to improve working memory in individuals with autism, but that patients who already take the prescription drug might benefit.
 
"People with an [ASD] who are already being prescribed propranolol for a different reason, such as anxiety, might also see an improvement in working memory," said Shawn Christ, an associate professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science who helped conduct the study, published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.

© 2014 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Scientists Uncover Dyslexic Brain Differences

Friday, 29 Aug 2014 12:54 PM

Researchers have discovered that people with dyslexia have disrupted network connections in their brains. Dyslexia -- th . . .

Zapping Scalp With Electrical Current Boosts Memory: Scientists

Friday, 29 Aug 2014 08:24 AM

Scientists have found that sending electrical currents through the scalp to a specific network of brain structures can e . . .

Does Pot Fight Alzheimer's?

Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 15:10 PM

Scientists have found that even very low doses of a compound found in marijuana may slow or halt the progression of Alzh . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved