Curious

Down syndrome – can it already be cured?

People born with Down syndrome have always been thought to be incurable. But that was only the case until recently. Recent medical research has helped to create a preparation that can improve the condition of such patients.

And in the future, it will provide them with the opportunity to lead a fuller and independent lifestyle.

In recent years, scientists have been able to discover that various disorders of physiological processes in the brain can be corrected with the help of medication.

Two of the studies conducted focused on the treatment of people with Down syndrome. Geneticist Roger Reeves of Johns Hopkins University one of the areas in the brain, to which if certain drugs are applied, it is possible to achieve normalization of the disorders in the ability to remember and to absorb information, which are inherent in Down’s syndrome.

Down syndrome occurs in 1 in 1,000 newborns, regardless of where in the world they are born. The disease is associated with the presence of an additional chromosome in the 21st homologous pair and the increased activity of 300 of the 500 genes contained in it.

From 2004 until a few years ago, scientists knew very little about the mechanisms that cause developmental disorders in Down syndrome. But now everything has changed.

In recent years, several major scientific discoveries have been made in connection with the knowledge of the very neurochemistry of this disease.

The new understanding of Down syndrome has led to the discovery of new methods for its treatment. In particular, the geneticist Reeves and his team triedto restore the size of the cerebellum in mice.

The organ is located at the base of the brain and is responsible for controlling body movements and balance. In people with Down syndrome, the size of the cerebellum is approximately 40% smaller than in healthy people.

The scientist leading the project and his team hoped that by reconstructing the size of the cerebellum, they would be able to get a more complete picture of the processes that lead to brain disorders in Down syndrome.

Scientists introduced into newborn mice with Down syndrome a substance that stimulates one of the most important mechanisms for the development of nerve tissue, promoting the growth of the cerebellum as well.

The researchers were not surprised by the fact that they managed to bring the state of the organ back to normal, but it only confirmed their working hypothesis.

However, they did not expect that after 3 months of treatment, the mice with restored cerebellar size would be able to successfully learn new skills, for which another area of ​​the brain, the hippocampus, is responsible.

Scientists don’t know with any degree of certainty whether they accidentally failed to normalize the function of the hippocampus as well or whether the cerebellum is responsible for the improved memory and ability to acquire new skills.

It should be noted that new methods of disease treatment are currently being studied, which are aimed directly at restoring the normal function of the hippocampus.

The results of the research of the geneticist Reeves and his team may lead to the creation of a new drug that will enable people with Down syndrome to lead a more independent and independent lifestyle.

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