The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center is teaming up with the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee to host a virtual workshop on “Risks of Alzheimer’s Disease in Adults with Down Syndrome and Introduction to a Research Study.” The discussion will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 25, from 2 to 3 p.m. CT. Click here to register.
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 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 an extra copy of the amyloid precursor protein gene, which resides on chromosome 21, ultimately leading to increased proteins and amyloid plaques. Adults with Down syndrome show biological evidence of Alzheimer’s disease-related changes beginning by the ages of 35–55. It is also within this age range that cognitive decline and dementia may show up in individuals with Down syndrome. The risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia highlights the pressing need for the inclusion of individuals with Down syndrome in clinical studies for Alzheimer’s disease.
Webinar participants will learn information about how to join a research project directed by Dr. Paul Newhouse and his team on Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. The purpose of the Trial-Ready Cohort–Down Syndrome (TRC–DS) is to enroll 120 adults with Down syndrome ages 35–55 into a group to study several outcome measures (biological and cognitive) to establish their feasibility for use in a future therapeutic clinical trial to reduce the risk or prevent Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome.