They discover a therapy that improves cognitive function in people with Down syndrome

An international team of researchers has developed a therapy based on the GnRH protein that has improved the cognitive functions of a small group of patients with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects one in 800 people. Researchers have discovered that gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), an essential protein in reproductive function, also plays an essential role in cognitive function. ‘Valentina’, the first Spanish production starring a girl with Down syndrome Based on this finding, researchers from Lille (whose first author is María Manfredi-Lozano, currently at the University of Seville) carried out a proof of concept in mice to reset the GnRH system and try to get it working properly. After six months of treatment, the researchers evaluated the effects of the therapy and, using cognitive and olfactory tests and MRI examinations, found that the treatment had not improved olfactory function but cognitive function. An “unexpected find” that paves the way for further investigation. Down syndrome is the leading cause of intellectual disability and causes various clinical manifestations, including impaired cognitive ability. With age, 77% of sufferers experience symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, people with this syndrome suffer from the gradual loss of olfactory capacity -typical of neurodegenerative diseases- and possible deficits in sexual maturation in the case of men. Kids with Down syndrome learn to cook with renowned chefs The study, whose results are published today in Science, has been led by the University of Lille (France) and the University Hospital of Lausanne (Switzerland), and has had the participation of the University of Córdoba (UCO) and the August Pi i Sunyer Biomedical Research Institute (Idibaps).