Thursday, November 19, 2009

Getting Closer to a Treatment for Down Syndrome

Researchers from Stanford and the University of California San Diego have found a way to restore learning in mice with a Down syndrome-like condition.

The scientists administered xamoterol to mice who had three copies of one of their chromosomes (similar to the origin of Down syndrome). Before the tests, mice suffered neural degeneration and had difficulty learning to adapt to new environments; for example, they did not build nests when transferred to new homes and could not recognize patterns in audio tones. After the drug took effect, the nest-building and pattern recognition was restored.

The xamoterol worked by being converted by the body into norepinephrine, which is a natural neurotransmitter.

To read more about the discovery, read the press releases at the University of California or MedPage Today.

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