Sunday, February 20, 2011

Proteins may reverse developmental delays connected to Down syndrome, new study reports

From ANI:

In a new study, scientists were able to reverse developmental problems in mice that had Down's syndrome by injecting their mothers with two proteins while they were still in the womb.

However, the treatment would carry many risks for humans, so the team wondered whether the proteins might also help adult mice.

The mice had to find a submerged platform in a water maze using visual cues. The team found that Down's mice usually take twice as long to find the platform as healthy mice but after being treated with with NAP and SAL, the Down's mice learned to navigate the maze just as easily as normal mice.

In a second experiment, the team investigated whether the treatment caused changes in chemicals known to be involved in "long-term potentiation" (LTP) - a type of brain activity key to memory formation.

"Learning disabilities and mental retardations that were considered permanent are treatable," New Scientist quoted Craig Heller, co-director of Stanford University's Down Syndrome Research Center in California, as saying.