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

Where Ebola battles are won

2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Four hospitals that are home to advanced biocontainment facilities have become America's ground zero in the treatment of Ebola patients.

Depression tied to worse lumbar spine surgery outcomes

5 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Depressive symptoms are associated with poorer long-term outcome in patients undergoing surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS), according to research published in the Oct. 1 issue of The Sp ...

Ebola death toll edging to 4,900 mark: WHO

5 hours ago

The death toll in the world's worst-ever Ebola outbreak has edged closer to 4,900, while almost 10,000 people have now been infected, new figures from the World Health Organization showed Wednesday.

US to track everyone coming from Ebola nations

6 hours ago

U.S. authorities said Wednesday that everyone traveling into the U.S. from Ebola-stricken nations will be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. That includes returning American aid workers, federal health employees ...

User comments