Targeting Down-Syndrome Genes through Prenatal Therapy

Study of genetic disorders has gained popularity across the medical research fraternity. Down syndrome is amongst the most common genetic disorders that affects people across the globe. Each year, over 6000 babies are born with chromosomal deviances that result in down-syndrome. Impairment of the 21st chromosome of gene OLIG2 is responsible for the occurrence of down-syndrome. 23 pairs of chromosomes are present in the human body while kids with down-syndrome have an extra pair. The 21st pair of chromosomes inherits an extra copy which disrupts the symmetry of chromosomes. This deviance affects the physical and cognitive development of individuals with down-syndrome. Researchers at Rutgers University have developed a new target mechanism to alleviate down-syndrome. The researchers intend to target the extra chromosome of gene OLIG2 during prenatal therapy.

Dealing with the Extra Chromosome

The ability to target the extra chromosome could help in reversing the negative impacts of down-syndrome. Abnormal brain development is a result of extra chromosomal impact, and this could be inhibited with target-therapy. As a result, prenatal therapies can balance inhibitory and excitatory neurons in the brain. This could in turn improve the cognitive abilities of children born with down-syndrome. The researchers used samples of skin cells and grafts from the body of down-syndrome patients. Further, researchers programmed these cells to act as brain cells during the research.

Use of Mouse Samples

The use of mouse cells for this research also gave key insights to the researchers. Besides, it was found that the use of these cells could produce stellar results within genetic studies.

Hormone Therapy Less Risky for Menopausal Women than Assumed: New Study

Is hormone replacement therapy (HRT) worth the risks associated with it? Do its benefits of treating menopause symptoms outweigh the risks? These are the crucial questions right on the top of the minds of women looking to opt for HRT to treat osteoporosis, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and the like. However, a new research published Tuesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) has a good news for menopausal women. JoAnn E. Manson, a lead author of the study, former North American Menopause Society (NAMS) president, and Harvard Medical School professor, has said hormone therapy had no association with all-cause mortality during the treatment and long-term follow-ups of the trials conducted.

Manson has also said that the findings of the new analysis should give a reassurance of hormone therapy being reasonable for symptomatic women in generally good health while in early menopause.

Menopausal Women and Doctors Reassured about Hormone Therapy

The Women’s Health Initiative hormone therapy trials are part of a randomized study that involved 27, 347 women who took hormone medicine while others were given a placebo. The trials have evaluated the risks and benefits of menopause hormone therapy taken by mainly healthy postmenopausal women to prevent chronic diseases. They tested estrogen plus progestin and estrogen alone–the most common sorts of hormone therapy.

The postmenopausal participants were 63 years old on an average at enrollment. The effect of treatment was explored between five to seven years along with 18 years of collective follow-up. The trials then explained how mortality rate was affected by hormone therapy. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia deaths were considerably lower in participants who were given estrogen-alone than those given a placebo during the follow-up of 18 years.

NAMS director, Joann Pinkerton has said that the group does not recommend restricting hormone therapy to the shortest duration or lowest dose but finding the most suitable one for each woman. Pinkerton further said that there are fresher treatments available with potentially low risk of stroke or blood clots, such as transdermal patches.