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Alzheimer's, Down Syndrome Share a Chromosome 21 Link

Alzheimer's, Down Syndrome Share a Chromosome 21 Link

Alzheimer's disease and Down syndrome share a chromosome 21 link, sparking new research to establish treatments. (Ded Mityay/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Wednesday, 08 August 2018 11:09 AM

Alzheimer's disease and Down syndrome share a chromosome 21 link, which could open doors in the medical research to help victims of both, WCVB reported.

Research into this connection has become increasingly focused and has ignited a race toward establishing treatments.

People with Down syndrome are born with an extra copy of chromosome 21, which harbors the APP gene responsible for making the Alzheimer's protein, amyloid, the group Alzheimer's Research U.K. said in a blogpost.

This is believed to be a possible reason why people with Down syndrome develop Alzheimer's disease at a faster rate.

Autopsy studies have shown that by age 40, the brains of a vast majority of people with Down syndrome have significant levels of abnormal protein deposits, which are considered to be hallmarks for Alzheimer's, the Alzheimer's Association noted.

The unique property of chromosome 21 makes Alzheimer's a greater concern for people with Down syndrome, the National Down Syndrome Society said.

Dr. Brian Skotko, the director of the Down syndrome program at Massachusetts General Hospital, knows this all too well.

"It's really prevalent in our population and it's a pressing concern because right now, we have no treatments for Alzheimer's itself," he said, according to WCVB. "I think what we can learn from people with Down syndrome can help all of us."

A national clinical trial currently is testing the safety of a vaccine that could activate a patient's immune system to attack the plaques and entanglements before they build up and lead to Alzheimer's.

Allie Tarzwell, 32, has Down syndrome and will be taking part in that trial.

Her mother, Gayle Tarzwell said that the development of Alzheimer's was headed their way fast, which is why they decided to get involved in the trial.

"We just knew we had to help out. Had to be part of the solution, not just for us but for other people out there that are at risk of having Alzheimer's disease, whether they have Down syndrome or not," Gayle Tarzwell told WCVB.

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Alzheimer's disease and Down syndrome share a chromosome 21 link, which could open doors in the medical research to help victims of both.
alzheimers, down syndrome, chromosome, link
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2018-09-08
Wednesday, 08 August 2018 11:09 AM
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