January 16, 2010

Alzheimer's = late onset of DS?

Two articles came through my inbox this week which indicated a closer link between Alzheimer's disease and Down syndrome. The most surprising finding was that all of those with Alzheimer's have some cells with three copies of the 21st chromosome, which is the characteristic that defines Down syndrome. (This would be Trisomy 21 mosaicism, were some cells have three copies of the 21st chromosome, and others do not)

Quoting from a small part of the article from the Ethiopian Journal (click Here for the article), "This earlier work demonstrated that Alzheimer’s disease could be considered a late onset form of Down syndrome. By age 30 to 40, all people with Down syndrome develop the same brain pathology seen in Alzheimer’s disease, including a nerve-killing buildup of sticky amyloid protein clumps. This contributes to accelerated nerve cell loss and dementia."

The second article goes into much more depth than the first, but is also seeped in medical jargon. You can find it Here.

This may not benefit Down syndrome per se, as these findings seem to focus on how to prevent the mis-segregation of chromosomes of those without Trisomy 21. However, I do hope that this brings more awareness to Down syndrome and more research into what can prevent the buildup of proteins in the brain which leads to Alzheimer's in people who already do have Trisomy 21.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. Science never ceases to amaze me.