A drug which is used to treat high blood pressure and control heart rate as well as to reduce anxiety may help people with autism.
They are examining the use of drug propranolol to improve the primary traits associated with autism - difficulty with normal social skills, language and repetitive behaviours.
David Beversdorf, associate professor and Thompson Endowed Chair at the MU Thompson Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, found that the drug propranolol is beneficial for improving language development and social communication in people with autism.
"We can clearly say that propranolol has the potential to benefit language and may help people with autism function appropriately in social situations, including making eye contact with others," said Beversdorf.
"Enhancing both language and social function is significant because those are two of the three main features of autism. Clinical trials will assess the drug's effect on all three features, including repetitive behaviours," he added.