Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Should Down Syndrome Be Cured?

From Lisa Belkin's New York Times' parenting blog - Motherlode.

The guest post here on Friday — about the birth of Cash Van Rowe during a blizzard, and the jolting news that he had Down syndrome — led many of you to leave comments for his parents, assuring them that the road ahead was a journey they would cherish.
But what if Cash’s Down syndrome could be cured — or, more precisely, be mitigated?
News out of Stanford University late last year hinted that this might one day be possible. Researchers from its medical school and the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital explored why children born with Down syndrome do not start life developmentally delayed but rather fall behind as they get older. By using mice that were genetically engineered to mimic Down syndrome, they found that neural memory deficits prevent such children from collecting learned experiences, and that they could improve memory and cognition by medically boosting norepinephrine signaling in the brain.
The study (which was published in the November issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine) and the accompanying announcement by Stanford hinted at an eventual cure

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