Cognition can be enhanced in some patients with Down syndrome, study finds: ScienceAlert

A brand new hormone therapy improved cognitive perform in six males with Down syndrome by 10 to 30 %, researchers mentioned Thursday, including that “potential” outcomes may elevate hopes for improved high quality of life for patients.

But the researchers confused that the small study doesn’t treatment cognitive impairment in folks with Down syndrome and that extra analysis is required.

“The experiment could be very satisfying, however we’re cautious,” mentioned Nellie Pitteloud of the Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland and writer of the brand new study in the journal. science.

Down syndrome is the commonest genetic type of mental incapacity, affecting one in 1,000 folks, in accordance with the World Health Organization.

But earlier research have failed to indicate important enhancements in cognition when administered to folks with the illness, so the newest findings are “significantly essential,” the study mentioned.

Recent findings recommend that how gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) works in the mind might have an effect on cognitive features reminiscent of reminiscence, language and studying.

GnRH hormones regulate how a lot testosterone and estrogen are produced, and elevated ranges assist promote puberty.

“We are investigating whether or not this hormone can play a job in figuring out the signs of the syndrome,” says neurology writer Down and Vincent Prevot, head of the IN Institute in France.

A mouse study

The workforce first found that 5 strands of the microRNA that regulate GnRH manufacturing have been dysfunctional in mice particularly engineered to study Down syndrome.

They then confirmed that cognitive deficits, in addition to lack of scent, a typical symptom of Down syndrome, have been related with impaired GnRH secretion in mice.

The workforce then gave the mice GnRH, a drug used to deal with low testosterone and delayed puberty in people, and located that it restored some cognitive features and the sense of scent.

A pilot study was carried out in Switzerland involving seven folks with Down syndrome aged 20 to 50 years.

Each was given as a pulse to imitate the frequency of the hormone in folks with out Down syndrome, and was administered by means of the arm each two hours for six months.

Cognitive and olfactory assessments, in addition to MRI scans, have been carried out throughout therapy.

Six of the seven males confirmed an enchancment in cognition, with no unintended effects – however none confirmed a change in their sense of scent.

“We noticed a ten to 30 % enchancment in cognitive features, particularly visible perform, three-dimensional illustration, understanding directions, and a spotlight,” Pittelud mentioned.

Patients have been requested to attract a easy 3D mattress at a number of levels throughout remedy. Many struggled at first, however by the tip, efforts have been noticeably higher.

enhance the standard of life

The authors acknowledged some of the study’s limitations, together with its measurement and the truth that affected person choice was “pushed by mother and father.”

“The scientific trial solely targeted on seven male patients – we’ve got extra work to do to show the efficacy of GnRH therapy for Down syndrome,” Pitteloud mentioned.

A big study involving a placebo and 50-60 patients, a 3rd of whom are girls, is anticipated to start in the approaching months.

“We can’t treatment cognitive impairment in folks with Down syndrome, however the enchancment seen in our outcomes appears cheap sufficient to hopefully enhance their high quality of life,” Pitteloud mentioned.

Fabian Fernandez, a cognitive and Down syndrome professional on the University of Arizona who was not concerned in the study, hailed the “tour de pressure study.”

He advised AFP that whereas it was “tough to think about” how such intensive therapy may be used for younger folks, it might be higher for delaying Alzheimer’s disease-related dementia, which impacts many adults with Down syndrome.

It’s arduous to foretell how such an enchancment may have an effect on the lives of individuals with the illness, he mentioned.

“But for some, it can be essential as a result of it permits them to take care of and revel in their hobbies, discover issues, use family home equipment and be unbiased in on a regular basis life, reminiscent of touring alone.”

© Agence France-Presse

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