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University of Kentucky explores links between Alzheimer's, Down syndrome
Date:11/8/2013

ues and tangles abnormal protein deposits that are considered Alzheimer's hallmarks. But despite the presence of these brain changes, not everyone with Down syndrome develops Alzheimer's symptoms.

One of the many questions researchers hope to answer about Down syndrome is why some people develop dementia symptoms and others don't. Researchers are working to answer a similar key question about those who don't have Down syndrome. This may lead to new opportunities for treatment and prevention of the disease.

Wilcock's research will focus on studying inflammation in the blood of aging adults with Down syndrome, some of who have dementia and others who do not. Working together with fellow Sanders-Brown faculty members Elizabeth Head and Frederick Schmitt (who run an NIH funded longitudinal study of aging in adults with Down syndrome and their brain health), Wilcock has identified markers in the blood that predict the inflammatory state of the brain.

Since Down syndrome is associated with the triplication of many inflammatory genes, Wilock hypothesizes that a neuroinflammatory switch may be involved in the transition of a person with Down syndrome being cognitively normal to clinical dementia. She will measure blood markers of inflammation previously identified in Alzheimer's disease to the ongoing longitudinal study of aging in , some of whom have transitioned to dementia, to determine whether inflammatory profiles can be predictive of transition to dementia. The samples to be used in this study are from the Head / Schmitt longitudinal Down's group," said Wilcock.

"Of more than 50 applications, only five grants were funded worldwide for this research initiative. This clearly emphasizes the world-class research that Drs. Wilcock, Head, and Schmitt are doing at the Center. his work is highly significant in that it may lead to more predictive ways to tell whether an individual is at high risk for developing dementia," said Linda J.
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Contact: Allison Elliott-Shannon
allison.elliott@uky.edu
University of Kentucky
Source:Eurekalert

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