Can lithium restore brain function in people with Down Syndrome?

4 years ago

I'd consider this pretty big news: Researchers in Italy used lithium to restore new neurons in the hippocampus (the part of the brain that controls learning and memory). 

They were also able to "significantly improve" cognitive skills in mice with Down syndrome, especially spatial memory, object discrimination and contextual learning. 

Apparently, mice are very similar to humans in many ways, so this might prove to work on humans too!

Here's the article I read:

You'll notice that in this piece there is a link to the more technical summary of the research. It's entitled, "Lithium rescues synaptic plasticity and memory in Down syndrome mice." No doubt, our discovery of the brain's plasticity (ability to change at any age) is what's behind many of these studies!

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