Down syndrome and Alzheimer's
May 5, 2007 9:26 AM   Subscribe

Down syndrome and Alzheimer's. People with Down syndrome are much more likely to develop Alzheimer's, and at a much earlier age: three-quarters of them will get it by the age of 65, compared with one-tenth of the general population. This Globe and Mail article looks at a relatively new phenomenon due, in no small part, to longer life expentancies among those with Down syndrome.
posted by mcwetboy (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know that this is that new. The increased rate been known since 1991, I believe, when a mutation or duplicated expression of the ß-amyloid gene was implicated in development of Alzheimer's.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:44 AM on May 5, 2007

Pulmonary vascular disease is also very common in Down syndrome - increased hypoxia in the brain associated with this morbidity contributes to stabilizing beta-secretase protein and this gene has a hypoxia response element in its promoter which results in increased production of Aß, the toxic (and primary component of neurofibrilary tangles and neuritic plaques seen in Alzheimer's) form of the amyloid precursor protein breakdown product.
posted by porpoise at 11:17 AM on May 5, 2007

I am a tiresome pedant. Down's Syndrome, not Down
posted by A189Nut at 11:39 AM on May 5, 2007

It appears I am a tiresome pedant who lives in the UK... In the US it is, strangely, Down Syndrome
posted by A189Nut at 11:41 AM on May 5, 2007

What porpoise said.
posted by sciurus at 11:44 AM on May 5, 2007

The title of the article, "Doomed from birth to death," seems to paint a certain representation of life with Down('s) Syndrome.

Certainly, there are medical challenges to having this disease. But are these lives particularly more doomed? Hardly.
posted by gavia at 11:56 AM on May 5, 2007

doomed r us!
posted by bruce at 11:58 AM on May 5, 2007

One TENTH? More like 2-3%, not 10%. Still a horrifyingly scary number, but it isn't one tenth of the population who will have it by age 65.

Good god, that's an even more horrible thought, on top of the already horrible thought that 2-3% will.
posted by FritoKAL at 12:37 PM on May 5, 2007

Nope, the prevalence in individuals aged 65+ is more like 13%, I'm afraid to say.

"The updated estimates, based on the rising occurrences of the disease with age, not new disease research, were released yesterday by the Alzheimer’s Association, along with a compilation of other information about a progressive brain disease that afflicts 13 percent, or one in eight people 65 and over, and 42 percent of those past 85." [NYT]
posted by docgonzo at 1:41 PM on May 5, 2007

(Note: I should point out that it is in the interest of the Alzheimer's Association to put out as high an estimate as possible; I don't know what their case definition is, either, nor the source of their data.)
posted by docgonzo at 1:42 PM on May 5, 2007

Here's a better -- and lower -- estimate of prevalences by WHO region from an article in The Lancet.
posted by docgonzo at 1:49 PM on May 5, 2007

I remember the days when longer life expentancies were cheap.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:49 PM on May 5, 2007

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