Navigation Links
Understanding and treating the cognitive dysfunction of Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease

Philadelphia, PA, March 1, 2012 Down syndrome (DS) is the most common genetic disorder in live born children arising as a consequence of a chromosomal abnormality. It occurs as a result of having three copies of chromosome 21, instead of the usual two. It causes substantial physical and behavioral abnormalities, including life-long cognitive dysfunction that can range from mild to severe but which further deteriorates as individuals with DS age.

It is not currently possible to effectively treat the cognitive impairments associated with DS. However, these deficits are an increasing focus of research. In this issue of Biological Psychiatry, researchers at Stanford University, led by Dr. Ahmad Salehi, have published a review which highlights potential strategies for the treatment of these cognitive deficits.

The authors focus on insights emerging from animal models of Down syndrome and outline the structural abnormalities in the DS brain. They also discuss studies that have linked the overexpression of the amyloid precursor protein gene, called APP, to the degeneration of neurons in mice. These findings have led to the development of therapeutic treatments in mice, which now must be tested in humans.

"For more than a decade, we have been working on identifying a strategy to treat cognitive disabilities in our Down syndrome mouse models," said Dr. Salehi. "Considering the research and results with mouse models as an indication of success of a strategy in humans, we are ever closer to finding ways to at least partially restore cognitive function in children and adults with Down syndrome."

Interestingly, this research is also providing insights into Alzheimer's disease (AD), the archetypal disorder of late life. All adults with Down syndrome develop AD pathology by age 40, and there are some remarkable similarities in the brain degeneration and cognitive dysfunction of individuals with DS and those with AD.

The leading AD hypothesis posits that it is caused by increasingly elevated levels of amyloid-related proteins, which are toxic to nerve cells in the brain. These same proteins also accumulate in the brains of people with DS because they are made by the APP gene, which is located on chromosome 21. Individuals with AD don't have the extra chromosome, of course; rather, it is mutations in APP that appear to cause the brain degeneration associated with AD.

Dr. John Krystal, editor of Biological Psychiatry, commented: "The convergence of research on Down syndrome and Alzheimer's disease highlights a central point that cannot be overstated. When we understand the fundamental biology of the brain, important new conceptual bridges emerge that guide new treatment approaches."

Salehi added, "In the near future, we may very likely look back with the perspective that Down syndrome represents an example of how families of affected individuals came together and by supporting basic research, changed the course of a disorder that was considered untreatable for more than a century."


Contact: Rhiannon Bugno

Related biology news :

1. A breakthrough in understanding the biology and treatment of ovarian cancer
2. Understanding how bacteria come back from the dead
3. Shane Ross garners CAREER Award to advance understanding of fluid flows from blood inside the body to oil spills in bodies of water
4. Recent study by Mars, Incorporated and partners underscores importance of metabolism in understanding health benefits of cocoa flavanols
5. Understanding causes of obesity in Aboriginal children
6. Scripps Research scientists provide new understanding of chronic pain
7. A firmer understanding of muscle fibrosis
8. Step forward in foot-and-mouth disease understanding
9. Lighting the way to understanding the brain
10. A new model for understanding biodiversity
11. Introducing L-PEACH: Tool for understanding peach tree development
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/17/2015)... , November 17, 2015 ... au 19 novembre  2015.  --> Paris ... --> DERMALOG, le leader de l,innovation biométrique, ... la fois passeports et empreintes sur la même surface ... les passeports et l,autre pour les empreintes digitales. Désormais, ...
(Date:11/16/2015)... , Nov 16, 2015  Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... interface solutions, today announced expansion of its TDDI ... touch controller and display driver integration (TDDI) ... smartphones. These new TDDI products add to the ... resolution), TD4302 (WQHD resolution), and TD4322 (FHD resolution) ...
(Date:11/12/2015)... --  Growing need for low-cost, easy to use, ... the way for use of biochemical sensors for ... clinical, agricultural, environmental, food and defense applications. Presently, ... applications, however, their adoption is increasing in agricultural, ... on improving product quality and growing need to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... , November 24, 2015 ... market research report "Oligonucleotide Synthesis Market by Product & ... Gene Synthesis, Diagnostic, DNA, RNAi), End-User (Research, Pharmaceutical & ... by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to reach USD ... 2015, at a CAGR of 10.1% during the forecast ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Tikcro Technologies Ltd. (OTCQB: TIKRF) today announced that ... 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Israel time, at the ... Yigal Allon Street, 36 th Floor, Tel Aviv, Israel ... Paneth and Izhak Tamir to the Board of Directors; ... external directors; , approval of an amendment to certain terms of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... Technologies, Inc., on being named to Deloitte's 2015 Technology Fast 500 list of ... OrthoAccel manufactures AcceleDent®, a FDA-cleared, Class II medical device that speeds up orthodontic ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , November 24, 2015 , ... a European healthcare fund ... companies will work closely together in identifying European breakthrough technologies ... need. The collaboration is underpinned by a significant investment by ... is the first investment by Bristol-Myers Squibb in a European ...
Breaking Biology Technology: