Drug Shows Promise for Slowing Down’s Syndrome Mental Decline

November 19, 2009

(ChattahBox)—Scientists have discovered that an experimental drug, currently being tested to treat fibromyalgia in humans, may hold the key to restoring cognitive function to older individuals with Down’s Syndrome, experiencing dementia-like symptoms. Although the study was used on mice, the results show promise for increasing the quality of life for older Down’s Syndrome patients.

Down’s Syndrome is a chromosomal disorder caused by the existence of all or part of an extra 21st chromosome. The disorder results in significant learning and memory disabilities. As patients grow older, their cognitive abilities worsen, developing into Alzheimer’s-like dementia by age 50 or 60.

The groundbreaking study was led by neuroscientist William C. Mobley, MD, PhD, chair of the Department of Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, who is recognized as a leading expert on Down’s Syndrome. Mobley knew that long before older patients showed evidence of neurotransmission cell death, the synaptic terminals started to degenerate. But the terminals still had sparks of life and continued to search for neurotransmission connections.

Using mice with similar conditions to Down’s Syndrome, Mobley used the drug L-DOPS or xamoterol to fire up damaged LC neuron, to restore the neurotransmission connections and re-establish lost cognitive ability.

The drug is a a pro-drug for norepinephrine. “The damaged neurons in mice use norepinephrine, which is a neurotransmitter, to pass impulses to receptors in the cortex and hippocampus – brain regions critical for learning, memory and attention.”

It’s not known for sure that damaged LC neurons are responsible for human contextual learning, but previous studies have shown the damaged neurons play a role in Alzheimer’s disease.

Mobley is hopeful that his new research could someday offer treatment for Down’s Syndrome. “The possibility is very real that such a therapy, if proven safe, would be effective in treating dementia in later-stage Down’s Syndrome patients,” said Mobley.

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One Response to “Drug Shows Promise for Slowing Down’s Syndrome Mental Decline”

  1. Fibromyalgia diet | Fibromyalgia Health Tips on November 22nd, 2009 12:30 am

    […] Drug Shows Promise for Slowing Down’s Syndrome Mental Decline – Chattahbox.com(ChattahBox)—Scientists have discovered that an experimental drug, currently being tested to treat fibromyalgia in humans, may hold the key to restoring cognitive function to older individuals with Down’s Syndrome, experiencing dementia-like […]

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