There have been articles popping up all over the web about some exciting research happening at Stanford University, that involves the learning abilities of mice with Down syndrome.
Scientists have given genetically modified mice (that have three copies of chromosome 21) a drug that boosts the chemical production of norepinephrine levels that are responsible for memory and learning abilities and the study has produced positive results.
According to Laine Stewart over at the Examiner, "When the brains of these mice were examined under a microscope degeneration was evidence in the locus coeruleus, a region at the base of brain responsible for production of the norepinephrine, which promotes memory and learning in the hippocampus region of the brain. The genetically-modified mice were given drugs that boost norepinephrine levels and subjected to a memory test a few hours later. Without the drugs they performed very poorly, but were as successful as regular mice after receiving the drugs."
Study can be found here. Stewart's article is easier to digest.
I've known about this research for sometime and have been awaiting an update. Advancements in medicine, whether for a person with Down syndrome or not are exciting! But I've thrown out the caution flag here and am taking a wait and see approach. Like any new drug, especially one that can be considered unnecessary because it's not a life threatening ailment, it's up to the parent or person to choose what's best for them. If these drugs come to the market, families will have to make that choice. I'm not personally against anything that may provide benefits for Nathan but I can tell you this ~ he won't be the first one test driving the car. Safety will always be my first concern.
I'm thankful for those in the medical community dedicating their lives to research that has, and will, one day benefit Nathan. God bless.