Groundbreaking study into Down syndrome in northeast Ohio - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Groundbreaking study into Down syndrome in northeast Ohio

Dr. Alberto Costa will test drug for Down syndrome study (Source: WOIO) Dr. Alberto Costa will test drug for Down syndrome study (Source: WOIO)
A drug created for one purpose may have benefits in other areas.

Memantine was originally created in the 1960s to treat the flu. But people with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's started showing positives signs from
it, and now it may even help those with Down syndrome.
 
The first time Dr. Alberto Costa did his research study it was with 40 test subjects with Down syndrome. Half were given the drug Memantine
and showed improvements with cognitive thinking and memory.

"Basically in practical terms they were able to remember a list of words better than before they taking the medication," Dr. Costa told 19 Action News reporter Dan DeRoos.

Dr. Costa with Case Western Reserve University was just awarded a $2.7 million grant from the Alana Foundation to do the test again, this time on a much larger scale to see if they can replicate the results.

Part of the study uses a high density EEG to measure brain waves coming from the critical thinking areas of the brain to see if the drug is working.

Improving memory may sound like a small step for someone with Down syndrome, but this is move that could improve their quality of life.

"Whether it's in school, whether it's at work and it's just to give that extra help that were doing this research," said Dr. Costa.

This mission of improving the quality of life is personal for Dr. Costa. 19 years ago as he was receiving his doctorate, his daughter Tyche was born with Down syndrome.

"Well, she's both an inspiration and a motivation behind what I do. I mean every day that I get home she reminds me of why I'm doing what I'm doing. And she a great kid, love her dearly."

The next step is to find test participants willing to help push this very important research.

Dr. Costa is looking for 200 people with Down syndrome between the ages of 15 and 32. 100 will be given the drug, the other 100 will not, to compare results.

Click here to find out more about the study and how you can get involved.

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