New hope for Down’s syndrome children

Blood pressure drug could help improve mental skills of Down’s syndrome children

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The development of a new drug to reverse the learning difficulties faced by children with Down’s syndrome has brought hope to thousands of families.

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If taken in childhood, the drug, which has previously been used to treat high blood pressure, could improve Down’s children’s school marks. In adulthood, it may also prevent or slow down the onset of dementia that often accompanies the genetic condition.

Children with Down’s aren’t developmentally delayed at birth, but memory problems mean they often fall behind later.

The US experts developing the drug say they have a long way to go but successful results following experiments with mice have given “a ray of hope and optimism” for the future.

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“There is a great deal of research being done in this field,” says Carol Boys, chief executive of Down’s Syndrome Association. “However, it will be a long time before any of these treatments are available and safe for use with human beings.”

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