A fresh new approach of slowing down cognitive dysfunction that takes place in Down syndrome has been suggested in a new study.
Down's syndrome is caused by the presence of all or part of an extra 21st chromosome and significantly reduces contextual learning and memory. People affected by Down's syndrome have a below average cognitive ability, and those who reach middle age show start showing Alzheimer's-like dementia by the time they are 50 or 60.
William C. Mobley, chair of the Department of Neurosciences at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, and his colleagues at Stanford University Medical School studied a mouse model to demonstrate an alternative method to dampening the cognitive decline.
Mobley said: "If we focus only on damage to cell bodies, we underestimate the importance of timing and the potential window for treatment of Down's syndrome."
The research team studied mice with Down syndrome type symptoms including significant cognitive deficits and dysfunction and degeneration of LC neurons (with origination in locus coeruleus) to come up with their finding.
Mobley said: "We found that, despite advanced LC degeneration, we could reverse contextual learning failure in these mice."
"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," he added.
The study has appeared in Science Translational Medicine on November 18.