We are conducting a study based at the Cambridge Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Group (www.CIDDRG.org.uk), in partnership with the Down"s Syndrome Association (DSA) and the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre (WIBC) Cambridge to investigate the risk of dementia in people with Down"s syndrome (DS). This four year study is funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC).
We believe that a chemical (protein) in the brain called beta amyloid may be a key factor in causing dementia of the Alzheimer"s type, and that people with DS may be more vulnerable to this type of dementia as they have more of this protein in their brains (the gene for the protein is on chromosome 21 which is inherited in triplicate in people with Down"s syndrome). If excess beta amyloid is found to be an important factor then medications being developed to reduce beta amyloid deposition in the brain could possibly prevent dementia developing. This study will use new brain scanning techniques to look at the amount of beta amyloid in the brain and whether it is associated with brain changes and the symptoms of dementia.
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