A new initiative of the 3-21 Foundation is its program in cognition. Cognition is simply thinking. It’s a description for an immensely complex neurological activity, composed of many complex, inter-connected functions all regulated by the brain. Cognition is also known to be impaired in Down syndrome. Recent research, however, has shown that cognitive capabilities, starting with working memory, can be enhanced in people with Down syndrome. The cognition program of the 3-21 Foundation has initially focused on:
- Understanding what the opportunities for cognitive enhancement might be;
- Sharing insights with parents and practicing clinicians; and
- Advising research organizations and Down syndrome philanthropies on potential areas for cognitive research collaboration and/or investment.
In 2015, the 3-21 Foundation will be also making targeted direct investments in near-term translational cognitive research. Specifically the 3-21 Foundation is focused on realizing quantifiable results for projects that have the immediate potential (1-2 year time frame) to benefit people with Down syndrome. Of particular interest are peer-reviewed neuro-active nutraceutical trials. These are particularly attractive as they can yield the greatest benefit per dollar invested. Once proven, nutraceutical compounds can be used by people with minimal delay, yet paradoxically can have the most difficulty in obtaining funding. That is a situation we hope to address.