Aging With Down Syndrome: The Dual Diagnosis

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Abstract

Background:

People with Down syndrome (DS) enjoy a longer life expectancy now than they ever have before and are therefore at greater risk of developing conditions associated with aging, including dementia.

Objectives:

To explore the phenomenon of dementia in DS.

Methods:

Medline and Google Scholar searches were conducted for relevant articles, chapters, and books published until 2017. Search terms included Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive impairment, dementia, DS, and trisomy 21. Publications found through this indexed search were reviewed for further references.

Results and Conclusions:

Virtually, all subject aged 35 to 40 show key neuropathologic changes characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease, but only a part of them show clinical signs of dementia, usually around the age of 50 years. Early signs of dementia in people with DS may be different from those experienced by the general population. Failure to recognize this can delay diagnosis and subsequent interventions.

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