Linda Crnic Institute Funds Study on Drug’s Potential to Improve Verbal Memory of People With Down Syndrome

Dan Hurley of The Washington Post has a great article about researchers’ hopes for eventually finding a drug to improve the verbal memory of people with Down syndrome, including a study funded in part by the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome at the University of Colorado.

A study in the journal Translational Psychiatry tested the effects of memantine, a drug approved under the name Namenda for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, on people with Down syndrome.

A trial conducted by Alberto Costa of the University of Colorado Denver and funded by the Crnic Institute, Forest Laboratories (the maker of Namenda), the National Institutes of Health and the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities involved 42 young adults with Down syndrome, with half receiving the drug and half getting a placebo over a 16-week period.

Although Costa’s study found no significant differences between the memantine and placebo groups on two primary measures, “we found a significant improvement in the memantine group in one of the secondary measures,” the study says.

Some scientists who specialize in Down syndrome research told The Washington Post they consider the results disappointing, but others noted that it’s the first time any improvement has been noted in a drug study.

“You can see it as a little study that had a little tiny effect, or as one of the greatest findings in Down syndrome over the past 10 years. Both are true,” Costa told The Washington Post, adding that he wants another, larger study of Namenda.

The full Washington Post article can be found here.

The study can be accessed here.

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