DSANEO Contact: Debbie Picker, Healthy Aging Support Coordinator
How DSANEO Can Help:
- Circle of Support – support group for families dealing with a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s Disease
- Medical Referrals
Alzheimer’s Disease & Down syndrome:
Many, but not all, people with Down syndrome develop Alzheimer’s disease when they get older.
People with Down syndrome are born with an extra copy of chromosome 21, which carries the APP gene. This gene produces a specific protein called amyloid precursor protein (APP). Too much APP protein leads to a buildup of protein clumps called beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. By age 40, almost all people with Down syndrome have these plaques, along with other protein deposits, called tau tangles, which cause problems with how brain cells function and increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia.
However, not all people with these brain plaques will develop the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Estimates suggest that 50 percent or more of people with Down syndrome will develop dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease as they age. People with Down syndrome typically begin to show symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease in their 50s or 60s. (retrieved from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/alzheimers-disease-people-down-syndrome )