The Science Translational Medicine reported that the compound is a tiny molecule dubbed a “Sonic hedgehog.”
Researchers injected the compound into the brains of mice born with Down syndrome, enabling the rodents’ cerebellums to grow to a normal size and allowing them to recover learning and memory capacity.
Experts at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine report that they found that the treated mice did just as well as unmodified mice in behavioral tests.
Meanwhile, scientists warn that the compound still has not been approved for treating humans with Down syndrome. However, they claim that their experiments are promising for the development of similar drugs.
Most people with Down syndrome have a cerebellum that is around 60 percent of normal size.
The syndrome is a condition that occurs when people have three, rather than the usual two, copies of chromosome 21.
The condition is characterized by the presence of a variable degree of cognitive and physical features that give those with the syndrome a distinct appearance.