Down syndrome trial may hold key to learning

Down syndrome trial may hold key to learning
A world-first trial will use a common cough syrup ingredient to boost the quality of life of up to six million people with Down syndrome.

(Medical Xpress)—An ingredient used for decades in cough syrup, and to treat a variety of conditions, could hold the key to improving memory, language, and learning in people with Down syndrome.

In the first trial of its kind targeting cognitive impairment in people with , researchers at Monash University are currently investigating the effectiveness of the ingredient, known as BTD-001, and its potential to significantly improve the quality of life of people with Down syndrome - the most common genetic form of affecting six million people worldwide.

Principal Investigator, Director of the Centre for Health Victoria, Associate Professor Bob Davis, said early scientific evidence into the drug's ability to improve the cognitive function of people with Down syndrome was promising.

"Although it's too soon to draw any conclusions, we're hopeful this trial and the continued development of the drug could lead to a product that can improve the , and ultimately the quality of life of people with Down syndrome," Associate Professor Davis said.

"With further development, we hope this could provide a path to improving some of the difficulties those living with Down syndrome may have, such as the ability to learn at school, to become self reliant, to get a job or to manage their own finances.

"To date management has tended to focus on treating the physical complications of Down syndrome, but we now have a better understanding of the science underlying how Down syndrome impacts to cause ."

The clinical study is based on recent research at Stanford University which first uncovered the strong potential of BTD-001 to improve reasoning, memory and learning capabilities of people with Down syndrome.

Associate Professor Davis and his team are currently trialling a new lower dose formulation of the drug, which was discovered in the 1920s, and later used in , as well as a respiratory stimulant to treat a wide variety of conditions including dementia until the 1980s. The drug is still used in cough syrup for children in parts of the world.

Associate Professor Davis and researchers are working with people with Down syndrome aged between 13 and 35. They hope to recruit participants from Adelaide, Brisbane, Launceston, Melbourne, Perth, Sydney, and Woolongong to take part in the trial.

Development of this product is supported by the USA Government through the National Institute of Health and US based company Balance Therapeutics and its subsidiary based in Melbourne, Australia.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Lithium restores cognitive function in Down syndrome mice

Dec 03, 2012

Down syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is the leading cause of genetically defined intellectual disability. In the brain, Down syndrome results in alterations in the connections between neurons and a reduction ...

Scientist tests promising drug on those with Down syndrome

Aug 02, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- A University of Colorado School of Medicine scientist is finishing a major clinical trial on a drug that could boost cognitive function in those with Down syndrome, significantly improving their quality of ...

Recommended for you

Recorded Ebola deaths top 7,000

22 hours ago

The worst Ebola outbreak on record has now killed more than 7,000 people, with many of the latest deaths reported in Sierra Leone, the World Health Organization said as United Nations Secretary-General Ban ...

Liberia holds Senate vote amid Ebola fears (Update)

Dec 20, 2014

Health workers manned polling stations across Liberia on Saturday as voters cast their ballots in a twice-delayed Senate election that has been criticized for its potential to spread the deadly Ebola disease.

Evidence-based recs issued for systemic care in psoriasis

Dec 19, 2014

(HealthDay)—For appropriately selected patients with psoriasis, combining biologics with other systemic treatments, including phototherapy, oral medications, or other biologic, may result in greater efficacy ...

Bacteria in caramel apples kills at least four in US

Dec 19, 2014

A listeria outbreak believed to originate from commercially packaged caramel apples has killed at least four people in the United States and sickened 28 people since November, officials said Friday.

Steroid-based treatment may answer needs of pediatric EoE patients

Dec 19, 2014

A new formulation of oral budesonide suspension, a steroid-based treatment, is safe and effective in treating pediatric patients with eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE), according to a new study in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the official clinical practice journal ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.