Study Finds Heart Disease Drug Combats Racism

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Members of the Fraternal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan participate in the 11th Annual Nathan Bedford Forrest Birthday march on July 11, 2009 in Pulaski, Tenn. (credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Members of the Fraternal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan participate in the 11th Annual Nathan Bedford Forrest Birthday march on July 11, 2009 in Pulaski, Tenn. (credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — Could a heart disease pill be the secret to combating racism? According to one study it is.

Researchers from Oxford University released a new study in the international medical journal Psychopharmacology showing that taking propranolol reduces “implicit negative racial bias.”

“Implicit racial bias can occur even in people with a sincere belief in equality,” Dr. Sylvia Terbeck, author of the study, told The Daily Telegraph. “Given the key role that such implicit attitudes appear to play in discrimination against other ethnic groups, and the widespread use of propranolol for medical purposes, our findings are also of considerable ethical interest.”

Thirty-six white people were used in the study, with half getting propranolol and the other half getting a placebo. Researchers then used a feeling thermometer to rate how “warm” they felt toward different groups.

Researchers found that the heart disease drug “significantly lowered heart rate.” They also found that there was no significant difference between the propranolol and placebo groups toward religious or sexual prejudice.

“The main finding of our study is that propranolol significantly reduced implicit but not explicit racial bias,” researchers concluded.

Scientists behind the study call for further examination whether this positive effect could work in clinical treatment.

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