The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee will co-sponsor a webinar, “Risks of Alzheimer’s Disease in Adults with Down Syndrome and Introduction to a Research Study,” on Monday, March 29, from 7 to 8 p.m. CT.
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center investigator Paul Newhouse, the Jim Turner Professor of Cognitive Disorders, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, pharmacology and medicine, and director of the Vanderbilt Center for Cognitive Medicine, will lead the discussion.
The goals of the webinar are to provide an introduction to Alzheimer’s disease in patients with Down syndrome to include the risks, symptoms, onset and more, as well as a general overview of the TRC-DS study. The event also will include a Q&A session.
Down syndrome, or Trisomy 21, is the most common genetic cause of intellectual disability. By the age of 30, individuals with Down syndrome almost always develop amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. These plaques and tangles are the reason that up to 75 percent of people with Down syndrome will develop Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease in Down syndrome is thought to be linked to the presence of three copies of the amyloid precursor protein gene, which resides on chromosome 21, ultimately leading to increased proteins and amyloid plaques. Preliminary data shows that adults with Down syndrome exhibit significant changes in Alzheimer’s disease-related biomarkers between the ages of 35-55. It is also within this age range that Alzheimer’s disease-related cognitive decline and dementia typically show up in Down syndrome. Alzheimer’s disease is the primary cause of death in adults with Down syndrome over the age of 35, highlighting the pressing need for the inclusion of individuals with Down syndrome in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease.
The webinar will provide information on how to join research conducted by Dr. Newhouse and his team on Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. The purpose of the Trial-Ready Cohort—Down Syndrome study is to enroll 120 adults with Down syndrome ages 35-55 into a trial-ready group to study several outcome measures (biomarker and cognitive) to establish their feasibility for use in Alzheimer’s disease therapeutic clinical trials in people with Down syndrome.