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IQ-Boosting Drugs Aim to Help Down Syndrome Kids Learn

Aiming deep inside the brain, drugmakers are testing medicines that may improve learning in people with Down syndrome, an advance unimaginable 50 years ago when many children with the genetic condition were considered hopelessly disabled.

About 6,000 U.S. babies are born with Down syndrome each year. Most attend school, aided by programs designed to help them deal with their disabilities. Now Roche Holding AG and Balance Therapeutics Inc., taking advantage of a research renaissance in brain science, are testing drugs in human trials that may pave the way toward a new era. The goal: Improve the ability of these children to remember and learn.