Latest Issue of Science News


News

Statins for Algernon: Cholesterol-lowering drug fights learning disability

In Daniel Keyes' 1966 novel Flowers for Algernon (Harcourt), an experimental treatment gives a mouse and a learning-disabled man increased intellectual abilities. Real-life researchers, too, have strived to develop effective treatments for learning-disabled people. Now, a study in mice suggests that a drug for high cholesterol may reverse learning deficits caused by a common genetic disease.

The disease, known as neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), affects an estimated 1 in 3,000 people worldwide. Along with various physical symptoms, people with this disorder frequently have learning, memory, and attention problems. "Currently, there are no good treatment options for these people," says Alcino Silva of the University of California, Los Angeles.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

X
This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.