(Photo: Reuters/Andrew Kelly)
A cough syrup ingredient could help Down Syndrome sufferers by aiding them improve their language skills, according to researchers at Months University.
According to researchers, one of the key ingredients in cough syrup, called BTD-001, which was discovered in the 1920s, could help Down Syndrome sufferers improve their memory, language and learning.
Associate Professor Bob Davis, the head of the centre for Developmental Disability Health at Monash University, has said, "In the 1950s and 60s it was used ... as an ingredient for a drug for people with dementia," according to ABC.
He added, "People with dementia seemed to improve their memory and ... cognitive ability, so the ability to think. At that stage the medication had been shown to be safe and while there were some small studies indicating that it seemed to work, it didn't have the large drug trials that are required nowadays."
Davis has also said that BTD-001 improves the conductivity in the nerves in people's brains. He claims that a US research foundation discovered that people with Downs Syndrome have less conductivity in their nerves, and a diminished responsibility to store information, and that the ingredient BTD-001 could aid this.
Meanwhile, according to ABC, Catherine McAlpine, head of Down Syndrome Australia, has greeted the study by expressed caution: "There are very few research projects into helping people with Down Syndrome and the primary area of research is in prenatal testing which has its own ethical boundaries and ethical issues."
"Clearly, if we can do things that help people with Down Syndrome be more independent, then that's a good thing for everyone. But it can be a little bit complicated when we are talking about quality of life and increased cognition being one and the same because they're not the same thing."