Sunday, October 6, 2013


Awakening Angels’ lead researcher Dr. Alberto Costa was recently bestowed the National Down Syndrome Congress’s (NDSC) prestigious Christian Pueschel Memorial Research Award. This established award, dedicated to the late son of Dr. Sigmund Pueschel, honors researchers whose contributions and advancements aid and propel society’s understanding of Down syndrome. Sadly, Dr. Costa will be the last researcher to receive the award directly from the hands of Dr. Pueschel.  We have recently learned that Dr. Pueschel died Sept. 2, at the age of 82 years, leaving behind an amazing legacy of accomplishments toward the betterment of the quality of life of those with Down syndrome.
The connection between Dr. Costa and Dr. Pueschel predate the award by more than a decade.  The two met in 1998, and instantly became good friends.  In 2001, Dr. Pueschel asked Dr. Costa to write a chapter for the second edition of his classic book A Parent’s Guide to Down Syndrome: Toward a Brighter Future, which has been used as a tool for parents and professionals alike in further understanding Down Syndrome. As a consequence of this collaboration, the second edition of The Parent’s Guide (as it is frequently referred to in parent community)  ends with a chapter contribution by Dr. Costa, which touches on the promise of  biomedical research and the future of Down syndrome.
Dr. Costa, who is a Brazilian native with postdoctoral training at the University of Maryland and Baylor College of Medicine, has recently joined Awakening Angels, University Hospitals, Case Western Reserve School of Medicine and Rainbow Babies Children’s Hospital to continue his breakthrough research, regarding cognition enhancement. This clinical research has been the first translational study based on experimental results from the animal model Ts65Dn mice, whose genetic traits mirror many of those found in humans with Down syndrome.
About Down Syndrome
Down syndrome (DS, Trisomy 21), caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21, is the most common genetic form of intellectual disability with a prevalence of approximately 1 in 700 live births in the US. Children with DS exhibit developmental delay and various degrees of intellectual disability, while adults are at increased risk of Alzheimer’s dementia. There are currently no drugs approved for the treatment of cognitive dysfunction in DS.
Excess activity of genes on chromosome 21, such as amyloid precursor protein (APP) and sodium-myoinositol active transporter (SMIT), are thought to play a role in the cognitive dysfunction of DS. Life-long exposure to increased amyloid and myo-inositol levels in the brain are thought to lead to synaptic dysfunction and cognitive disability.
About Awakening Angels
Awakening Angels was founded with two primary purposes, yet one ultimate vision. Awakening Angels is a non-profit organization that supports and funds biomedical research to expand the horizons and improve the quality of life of persons with Down syndrome. Clinical studies published by our researcher, Dr. Alberto Costa M.D., Ph.D., have suggested the possibility of normalizing function,  growth, and survival of new brain cells in the hippocampus, which may in turn lead to the improvement overall cognitive abilities in persons with Down syndrome. Awakening Angels also financially supports Welcome House, specifically The Michael T George Center, to provide residential services to those with developmental disabilities. Awakening Angels is a proud supporter of University Hospitals, Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.
Contact :
Kayla Barnes
President & CEO of Awakening Angels 628-2009

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