Although racism is widely believed to be a learned behavior, findings from an Oxford University team suggest that taking a heart disease medication may also help mute subconscious racist attitudes in individuals. Researchers gave the drug propranolol to 18 subjects, and placebos to a control group of the same size. Those that received the drug scored markedly lower on a standard test that measures subconscious racial bias. Does this mean we could one day see a pill to counter racist tendencies?
Memory-induced panic attacks can be absolutely crippling for sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - the suffocating, gripping fear associated with traumatic memories can destroy victims' careers, relationships and the normal functioning of their lives. But a team of Dutch clinical psychologists are developing an almost magical cure, using a single dose of a common and fairly harmless beta-blocking drug that seems to be able to separate the panic emotion from the factual elements of the memory - leaving patients with an apparently lasting ability to recall and talk about the traumatic incident without the usual devastating rush of fear.