"Wow," I thought at the time. "I can't even imagine feeling that way. I can't wait 'til I get there!"
I haven't gotten there. I love Ellie. I love her with all my heart and soul. I have learned and grown so much from being her mother and I am glad and proud to be her mom.
But if I could make things easier for her? If I could wave a magic wand and take away her frustrations because processing information is so hard for her? I would do that in an instant. And I believe she'd still be the same sweet, wonderful, giving, generous, special child she is.
Drugs Could Reverse Down Syndrome Symptoms: A newly-found neurotransmitter link to the condition's associated learning disabilities could be targeted.
The learning impairment that characterizes Down syndrome and keeps people with the developmental condition from adapting to new environments could be reversed with a simple drug regimen, a new study suggests.
Cognitive impairment in Down syndrome is the result of a breakdown in the function of the hippocampus. This region of the brain is responsible for contextual learning, or gaining and applying knowledge in real-world situations. Recalling the location of certain items is a prime example.
"Remembering where your keys are isn't just based on navigation," Salehi told Discovery News. "It also includes the sound the keys made when you placed them down and all of the other little bits of information involved."
The hippocampus pulls all of these disparate sensations and awareness of our bodies in relation to our surroundings together to form new memories. When we need our keys again, we draw on these memories to help us find them.
People with Down syndrome may have trouble forming such memories, and Salehi and his team appear to have pinpointed the reason why.
Salehi and his team probed the hippocampi of the mice used in the study and found that the region wasn't functioning correctly due to a lack of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, a chemical that allows neurons in the hippocampus to form the connections that form contextual memories.
In the study, Salehi and his team found that this dysfunction could be corrected in the mice -- and surprisingly easily. The researchers injected modified mice with a drug that is converted into the norepinephrine within the brain.
Within five hours of injection, the modified mice that previously couldn't learn to fear a tone accompanied by an electric shock could now remember the conditioned response. The modified mice also learned to nest in a novel environment, which is a standard sign of intelligence in the rodents.
After being injected with the drug, L-DOPS, the mice modified to express Down syndrome showed no significant difference from their counterparts in terms of intelligence.
There's lots here that's fascinating. (And I didn't quote the whole article. It's not long, definitely worth a quick click-over-and-read!) But some of my favorite parts:
- The description of brain processing glitches with Trisomy 21
- Sucessful animal trials of
- A drug that's already widely available and might provide near-instant improvement.
Wow. I'm looking forward to seeing how this plays out.