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ABC NEWS, HERALD SUN, MONASH UNIVERSITY (Australia)

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MELBOURNE – An ingredient used in cough syrup could hold the key to improving memory, language skills and learning in people with Down syndrome.

Researchers from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, believe BTD-001, an ingredient in cough syrup that was discovered in the 1920s, could help with Down syndrome, reports Australian public broadcaster ABC News.

BTD-001 is used as a respiratory stimulant, but in the 1950s and 60s, it was also prescribed to patients with dementia, says Associate Professor Bob Davis from Monash University.

“People with dementia seemed to improve their memory and cognitive ability,” says Professor Davis. Since then, it has been established that BTD-001 improves the conductivity of the nerves in the brain.

Monash University has announced the launch of a trial to investigate the effectiveness of the ingredient, which has the “potential to significantly improve the quality of life of people with Down syndrome,” a disability that effects six million people worldwide.

Down Syndrome is a genetic condition where a person has an extra copy of the chromosome 21, leading to physical, developmental and intellectual disability, says the Herald Sun.

The first-ever clinical study involves trialing a lower dose formulation of the drug on 90 people with Down syndrome, aged between 13 and 35. Researchers are currently recruiting all around Australia. To take part in the trial, visit: compose21.com

Award-winning Belgian actor Pascal Duquenne has Down syndrome. Photo Pascal Duquenne.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

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The successful Ukrainian counteroffensive in the northeast has brought Kyiv’s troops to the border, now with the artillery capacity to strike inside Russian territory. What are risks of launching a “counter-invasion”? What are risks of not doing so?

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The Ukrainian Armed Forces' startling counter-offensive has entered its fifth day, with overnight news outdated by lunchtime as the advance continues at a pace unprecedented since the start of the war. Since the beginning of September, the Ukrainian army has liberated more than 3,000 square miles of territory in the northeastern Kharkiv region.

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Meanwhile in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin appears to be in denial as his troops collapse and retreat, and his generals panic. Putin spent the weekend presiding over the grand opening of a new Ferris wheel in Moscow, and his spokesman released a statement saying all is going according to plan.

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