Latest Science and Society News

Most drug therapy interventions for people with autism have targeted psychiatric problems, including aggression, anxiety and obsessive behavior. Now, University of Missouri researchers are examining the use of propranolol (a drug used to treat high blood pressure and control heart rate as well as to reduce test anxiety) to improve the primary traits associated with autism – difficulty with normal social skills, language and repetitive behaviors. MU researchers say the drug is a promising new avenue for improving language and social function.

Everyone’s a little bit racist, posits the song from the musical Avenue Q. But it may not be your fault, according to research in the latest edition of the British Journal of Social Psychology. In looking for the culprit as to why people tend to display tinges of racism, sexism or ageism, even towards members of their own group, a research team, led by the Georgia Institute of Technology, found that our culture may be partially to blame.

UCLA scientists have created a mouse model for autism that opens a window into the biological mechanisms that underlie the disease. The researchers found that autistic mice share similar symptoms and behaviors with people on the autism spectrum, suggesting that mouse brains and human brains are wired surprisingly alike. If so, the model offers a promising way to test new therapies that may one day help people with autism.

 

A single high dose of the hallucinogen psilocybin, the active ingredient in so-called “magic mushrooms,” was enough to bring about a measureable personality change lasting at least a year in nearly 60 percent of the 51 participants in a new study, according to the Johns Hopkins researchers who conducted it.
 

Disclosing all clinical research results -- from drug trials or device studies -- would benefit the public, leading to greater patient safety, improving treatment research strategies, and allowing a more efficient use of limited resources, say two neuroscientists in a commentary published today in Science Translational Medicine.

Although sharply divided, public attitudes toward gays and lesbians are rapidly changing to reflect greater acceptance, with younger generations leading the way, research by NORC at the University of Chicago shows.