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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Prozac Anyone?

Another study published June 2010 supports the use of Prozac in Down syndrome. Not only does it support the use of Prozac, it indicates Prozac should be started early, probably at birth. Maybe prenatally if you could.
The goal of the study was to see if early pharmacotherapy would improve neurogenesis and cognitive behavior. Guess what? It did.
Neurogenesis is literally what it sounds like. The birth of new neurons or nerves. It is now known that the ability to grow new nerves is a life long affair. At one time, it was believed that higher mammals (humans) did not have the ability to grow new neurons. It has come to light in the research world that we are not above new neurons. In fact, losing the ability to stimulate the growth of new neurons is what leads to depression and other neurodegenerative conditions.
Prozac has been on the market for 30 years. Over 55 million prescriptions have been written. If it had a terrible side effect, we would know. Stomach upset is the most common side effect. I get that from Mexican food.
I'm not making light of using drugs but my point is that weighing the options of degeneration versus regeneration, I'll take the regeneration, thank you.
The study looked at memory and learning in the Down syndrome mouse model. The DS mice did just as well as the typical mice in memory tests.
"These animals were tested for contextual fear conditioning, a hippocampus-dependent memory task, and exhibited a complete recovery of memory performance. Results show that early pharmacotherapy with a drug usable by humans can correct neurogenesis and behavioral impairment in a model for DS."
The abstract and full study is available online "Early Pharmacotherapy Restores Neurogenesis and Cognitive Performance in the Ts65Dn Mouse Model for Down Syndrome"
The thing we should be jumping up and down about is RESTORES COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE!!!!

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