Here’s a scary statistic for you – virtually 100% of people with Down syndrome will develop the pathology of Alzheimer’s in their brains by the age of 40.
Studies show that one the main genes on the 21st chromosome (which people with DS have in triplicate) controls the production of amyloid, the substance that forms the sticky plaques associated with Alzheimer’s. The overexpression of the 21st chromosome means that people with DS are the largest group of people predisposed to Alzheimer’s. The silver lining is that this makes them perfect candidates for research into the disease which also sheds light on how the brains of people with DS work.
Discoveries being made and drugs being developed are super encouraging that we are on the path to a cure. A cure that will undoubtedly benefit the lives of those with DS as well.