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An ingredient in cough medicine may help children with down syndrome.

An ingredient in cough medicine may help children with down syndrome.

Raising a child with Down syndrome can be an incredibly rewarding experience, though it is certainly not without its challenges. This condition – which is caused by the duplication of Chromosome 21 – affects one in every 1,000 children born across the globe, according to the World Health Organization. Often characterized by low muscle mass and an increased susceptibility to digestive problems, Down syndrome also impacts brain health and overall cognitive function.

While providing these children with love and support can help ensure they lead happy and fulfilling lives, some families also make use of Down syndrome supplements that may promote healthy nutrient uptake, among other methods. Recently, scientists from Monash University in Australia announced a new clinical trial that is intended to reveal whether an ingredient found in cough medicine – BDT-001 – could facilitate the cognitive development of children with this condition.

According to regional news source the Herald Sun, the Monash trial is branching off of a prior study conducted at Stanford University that "showed BTD-001 had strong potential to improve reasoning, memory and learning capabilities of people with Down syndrome."

In an interview on the Australian current affairs radio show "The World Today," Bob Davis, who heads Monash University's center for Developmental Disability Health, explained that BTD-001 has been used as everything from a cough suppressant to a brain enhancer, and expressed the hope that it may have the ability to facilitate memory, language development and general learning among individuals with Down syndrome.

The focus of the study, he noted, was to determine whether this ingredient could not just promote cognitive function, but also improve the overall quality of life for people with this condition. Researchers are actively recruiting participants between 13 and 35 for the study.

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