Heart drug may help get racism off your chest

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A common heart disease drug may have the unusual side-effect of combating racism, a new study suggests.

Volunteers given the beta-blocker, used to treat chest pains and lower heart rates, scored lower on a standard psychological test of “implicit” racist attitudes.

They appeared to be less racially prejudiced at a subconscious level than another group treated with a “dummy” placebo pill. Scientists believe the discovery can be explained by the fact that racism is fundamentally founded on fear.

Propranolol acts both on nerve circuits that govern automatic functions such as heart rate, and the part of the brain involved in fear and emotional responses.