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7 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Down syndrome carries raised risk of dementia by 55

HealthDay
Down syndrome carries raised risk of dementia by 55

Most people with Down syndrome have dementia by age 55, a new study shows. People with Down syndrome are born with an extra copy of chromosome 21, which often results in developmental disabilities. Surviving to middle age used to be rare, with many dying young due to heart problems associated with the syndrome, the researchers noted.

While treatment advances now enable people with Down syndrome to live longer, healthier lives, they're at increased risk for dementia. And they are likely to be diagnosed at younger ages than other people.

The researchers said that by age 40, the brains of nearly all adults with Down syndrome have signs of dementia, according to autopsies.

In this study, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers analysed Medicaid claims data on 3,000 people with Down syndrome, aged 21 and older, in Wisconsin.

The results showed that three in five people with Down syndrome will be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia by age 55. In comparison, people without Down syndrome are rarely diagnosed with dementia before age 65.

"We found [among claims data] that if you started without dementia, as time goes on, your likelihood of diagnosis increases every year," said study senior author Lauren Bishop, a researcher at the UW-Madison Waisman Centre and professor in the School of Social Work.  "Your probability of having any dementia is 61 per cent at age 55," she said in a university news release.

It's likely that similar results would be found in other states, according to the study published Oct. 28 in the journal JAMA Neurology.

"Having a number is so important when conveying the importance to policymakers. We can tell them that by age 55, three in five people with Down syndrome have dementia. It's clear and actionable," said study lead author Eric Rubenstein, a postdoctoral researcher at the Waisman Centre. Along with improving community support for people with Down syndrome, the findings could assist families in planning for their loved ones with Down syndrome -- for example, by enrolling them early in memory care centres, the researchers suggested. "Whether it's through case managers or group homes or some living assistance or job coaches, as a society we need to support vulnerable people. This is especially important for people with Down syndrome throughout their life course," Bishop said.

New research shows there are things we can do to reduce the risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia. Some risk factors for dementia, such as age and genetics cannot be changed. But researchers continue to explore the impact of other risk factors on brain health and prevention of dementia.

Research reported at the 2019 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference suggests that adopting multiple healthy lifestyle choices, including healthy diet, not smoking, regular exercise and cognitive stimulation, may decrease the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

   

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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