Those who study the autistic spectrum disorder know that there are issues with brain structure that challenge cognition. Those students with autism often have large blood vessels going through one part of the brain with little flow to other parts, thus they are challenged in various tasks. This of course makes learning very difficult and today the number of cases of Autism has skyrocketed and reached epidemic proportion, and educators, parents and medical professionals are looking for serious solutions to deal with the onslaught. Let’s talk about one potential solution that came to mind recently, but a little background first.
There was an interesting article in Science Daily titled; “Blood pressure medicine improves conversational skills of individuals with autism,” published on February 1, 2016, which stated; “It is estimated one 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, 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.”
The article goes on to state and site many examples of the use of Propranolol, a high-blood pressure medicine in autistic folks; “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, M.D., 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.”
Interestingly enough, there is a dietary supplement which does almost the same thing; Ginseng. It stabilizes blood pressure and helps with flow. Well then, why not give Ginseng Root (Panax) to autistic kids before and during the day at school? Increasing blood flow will allow for easier learning, getting blood to flow throughout the brain while the students work on their skills at school. It’s a simple solution which should work, if the research is correct, and we are correctly interpreting these findings.
Cite: Rachel M. Zamzow, Bradley J. Ferguson, Janine P. Stichter, Eric C. Porges, Alexandra S. Ragsdale, Morgan L. Lewis, David Q. Beversdorf. Effects of propranolol on conversational reciprocity in autism spectrum disorder: a pilot, double-blind, single-dose psychopharmacological challenge study. Psychopharmacology, 2016; DOI: 10.1007/s002-13-015-4199-0