Monday, February 26, 2007

Mice with "Down Syndrome" Get Smarter With Drug Therapy

Lab mice with the mental retardation of Down syndrome got smarter after being fed a drug that strengthened brain circuits involved in learning and memory, researchers reported Sunday.

After receiving once-daily doses of pentylenetetrazole, or PTZ, for 17 days, the mice could recognize objects and navigate mazes as well as normal mice did, researchers said. The improvements lasted up to two months after the drug was discontinued, according to the report in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

Scientists said the study opened a promising avenue for research in a field that had seen little success.

They do want to go to human trials with this but of course there are caveats. Many drugs that seem promising in initial studies on animals don't work well on humans. High dosages of this drug also apparently cause seizures. It would be nice if the research would pan out for a change. I do worry about abuse issues if it does though. People with "normal" intelligence might try to get their hands on this drug illegally to boost their intelligence further no matter if it works that way or not.