Researchers say a key ingredient in cough syrup could improve cognitive function in those with Down syndrome. The ingredient, BTD-001, was discovered in the 1920s and scientists at Monash University in Australia think it could help language, memory and learning.
In the 1950s and 1960s, BTD-001 was prescribed for everything from mild coughs to polio patients using iron lungs, and from dementia patients to those with Alzheimer’s. The drug is known to improve the conductivity of nerves in the brain.
“The investigation first looked at nerve structure and how nerves worked and they did find that in people with Down Syndrome or an individual with Down Syndrome as opposed to those without that conductivity of the nerve and the ability of the nerve to store information was less in Down Syndrome,” Associate Professor Bob Davis, the head of the Centre for Developmental Disability Health at Monash University, told ABC.
Now researchers are studying the how memory and cognition in Down syndrome is affected when BTD-001 is used.
Davis said it is the first research of its kind, while in general research on Down syndrome has been largely forgotten.
The new research comes just after U.S. teen Eli Reimer, who suffers from Down syndrome, climbed 17,598 feet to Mount Everest’s Base Camp in Nepal to raise awareness for the disabled. He returned to home to Oregon with his father on Friday, the day after World Down Syndrome Day on Mar. 21.