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Standardized test battery to aid those with Down syndrome
Date:1/12/2009

hological work and cognitive testing supported the case.

In the early 1990s, Nadel and his colleagues in Denver decided that in order to make any further progress, they would need a very accurate profile of the cognitive deficits in children with Down syndrome. For a while, their research slowed until Roger Reeves, a heart specialist at Johns Hopkins who had worked on heart problems in Down syndrome, asked about Nadel's research.

Like the hippocampus, there are anatomical features in the heart that develop very late, like the closing of the valves. Reeves wondered if children with Down syndrome were more likely to have late-developing heart problems. On one of his heart projects, Reeves related the probability of heart defects not just to chromosome 21, but other genes that interact with the extra chromosome 21, and had shown the feasability of using that as a predictor.

Nadel thought he could do that for cognitive function, and suggested they team up to determine the best way to profile cognitive deficits to use in combination with genetic and intervention studies. This could be a way to determine what else contributes to the exact outcome to any particular child with Down syndrome.

Nadel and Reeves brought in genetics experts from Emory University to complete the team.

"We're also planning to bring in researchers in Pittsburgh and setting up two or three sites around the country to increase the sample size to get even more exact data on how to make a direct link between the genetic profile of a given child with Down syndrome and their cognitive outcome. You want to predict as early as possible their likely trajectory, and which kids you should intervene with more aggressively," Nadel said.

Most researchers assume that the range of variability in children with Down syndrome is no different than for the rest of the population. There is a very large range in typically developing children, everything from high-fun
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Contact: Lynn Nadel
nadel@email.arizona.edu
520-621-7447
University of Arizona
Source:Eurekalert

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