We've updated our Privacy Policy to make it clearer how we use your personal data.

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. You can read our Cookie Policy here.

Advertisement
Blood pressure medicine may improve conversational skills of individuals with autism
News

Blood pressure medicine may improve conversational skills of individuals with autism

Blood pressure medicine may improve conversational skills of individuals with autism
News

Blood pressure medicine may improve conversational skills of individuals with autism

Read time:
 

Want a FREE PDF version of This News Story?

Complete the form below and we will email you a PDF version of "Blood pressure medicine may improve conversational skills of individuals with autism"

First Name*
Last Name*
Email Address*
Country*
Company Type*
Job Function*
Would you like to receive further email communication from Technology Networks?

Technology Networks Ltd. needs the contact information you provide to us to contact you about our products and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For information on how to unsubscribe, as well as our privacy practices and commitment to protecting your privacy, check out our Privacy Policy

Propranolol found to boost performance on six key components of communication -


An estimated 1 in 68 children in the United States has autism. The neurodevelopmental disorder, which impairs communication and social interaction skills, can be treated with medications and behavioral therapies, though there is no cure. Now, University of Missouri (MU) researchers have found that a medication commonly used to treat high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats may have the potential to improve some social functions of individuals with autism.


See Also: Brain representations of social thoughts accurately predict autism diagnosis


"Propranolol was first reported to improve the language and sociability skills of individuals with autism in 1987, but it was not a randomized, controlled trial, and there has been little follow-up research on this drug in relation to autism," said David Beversdorf, MD, associate professor in the departments of radiology, neurology and psychological sciences at MU and the MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, and senior author of the study. "While its intended use is to treat high blood pressure, propranolol has been used off-label to treat performance anxiety for several years. However, this is the first study to show that a single dose of propranolol can improve the conversational reciprocity skills of individuals with autism."


Senior study author, David Beversdorf, MD. Credit: Justin Kelley / MU Health
 


Led by Rachel Zamzow, graduate student with the MU Center for Translational Neuroscience, 20 individuals with autism were recruited from the MU Thompson Center and given either a 40-milligram dose of propranolol or a placebo pill. An hour after administration, the researchers had a structured conversation with the participants, scoring their performance on six social skills necessary to maintain a conversation: staying on topic, sharing information, reciprocity or shared conversation, transitions or interruptions, nonverbal communication and maintaining eye contact. The researchers found the total communication scores were significantly greater when the individual took propranolol compared to the placebo.


Learn More: Diverse autism mutations lead to different disease outcomes


"Though more research is needed to study its effects after more than one dose, these preliminary results show a potential benefit of propranolol to improve the conversational and nonverbal skills of individuals with autism," said Beversdorf, who also serves as the William and Nancy Thompson Endowed Chair in Radiology at MU. "Next, we hope to study the drug in a large clinical trial to establish the effects of regular doses and determine who would most likely benefit from this medication. Additional studies could lead the way for improved treatments for individuals with autism."


Note: Material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

University of Missouri   press release


Publication

Zamzow RM et al. Effects of Propranolol on Conversational Reciprocity in Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Pilot, Double-blind, Single-dose Psychopharmacological Challenge Study.  Psychopharmacology, Published Online January 14 2016. doi: 10.1007/s00213-015-4199-0


Advertisement