Drug To Treat Down Syndrome Could Be Near
As most scientific efforts focus on finding a reliable prenatal test to screen for Down syndrome, one researcher is instead looking to use medication to treat the disorder.
Alberto Costa knew little about Down syndrome when his daughter Tyche was born with the condition 16 years ago. But he quickly focused his expertise as a neuroscientist on better understanding the disability.
Today, Costa is preparing to release preliminary results of a four-month trial of an Alzheimer’s drug called memantine that he tested on 40 young adults with Down syndrome. Half received the medication — which Costa’s studies on mice indicate could help those with the developmental disorder boost their memory skills and become smarter — and half took a placebo.
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Parents of those who participated in the study are largely optimistic about the treatment possibilities. One mother says that her daughter started doing puzzles in the newspaper and became more expressive, using full sentences to explain a dream she had.
But not everyone is pleased with Costa’s approach. Some families are concerned that medicating people with Down syndrome could mean altering a person’s personality or identity. In fact, a Canadian survey recently found that 27 percent of parents would decline a “cure” for their child’s Down syndrome, reports The New York Times. To read more click here.