Treating Down syndrome with cough syrup ingredient

Cough Syrup in spoon

A first-of-its-kind clinical trial is underway to test a common cough syrup ingredient’s effect on Down syndrome. Spearheading the research is Monash University in Australia, which is piggybacking on a recent Stanford University study that suggested the ingredient could improve cognitive processes in people with Down syndrome.

Photodisc

The ingredient in question is called BTD-001. According to Monash, the drug was originally discovered in the 1920s. The respiratory stimulant was used to treat memory loss for those with senile dementia up until the 1980s and is currently used in many children’s cough syrups worldwide. The study aims to ultimately develop a drug that would significantly improve cognitive abilities – like memory, reasoning and learning capabilities – for people with Down syndrome. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 250,000 families in the United States are affected by the condition, which is caused by extra genetic material on chromosome 21. “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 cognitive abilities, and ultimately the quality of life, of people with Down syndrome,” Bob Davis, the study’s principal investigator, said in a statement from Monash. Researchers are currently recruiting people with Down syndrome between the ages of 13 and 35 for participation in the Australia-based study.  By Marianne Hayes

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