Dr Sonic in da house

Sonic the Hedgehog is a busy boy, not only has he defeat Egg-man, evil versions of himself and a huge assortment of bad guys but now he has found a way to help children with Down syndrome.

Don’t believe me? Read on

There is no cure for Down syndrome, which is caused by the presence of an additional chromosome (#21) and results in intellectual disabilities, distinctive facial features and other health problems. One of the conditions of Down syndrome is that the patient will have a smaller cerebellum & hippocampus and in some cases, the cerebellum is 60% smaller than a normal.

Sonic 2014

US researchers have discovered an experimental compound that when injected into mice that have been bred to have Down syndrome causes the brain to grow normally. On the day the mice were born, scientists injected them with a small molecule known as the sonic hedgehog pathway antagonist.

So what happened?

The sonic hedgehog pathway antagonist encourages the growth of the cerebellum to normal levels. “We were able to completely normalise growth of the cerebellum through adulthood with that single injection,” said Roger Reeves of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

However, adjusting the treatment for human use would be complicated, since altering the growth of the brain could lead to unintended consequences, such as triggering cancer.” Down syndrome is very complex and nobody thinks there’s going to be a silver bullet that normalises cognition,” Dr Reeves said.” Multiple approaches will be needed.”

This is a dramatic step forward in the future treatment of this horrible genetic disorder and we can wait to hear of Sonic’s triumph over it.

Want to learn more about Down syndrome?


Stay Curious – C.Costigan


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