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Brain imaging in Alzheimer’s disease – Progress of the dementia in Down’s syndrome study

Brain imaging in Alzheimer’s disease – Progress of the dementia in Down’s syndrome study

As CIDDRG’s dementia in Down’s syndrome study approaches its recruitment target, researchers have started to take a preliminary look at the data collected so far. Many people with Down’s syndrome develop Alzheimer’s disease relatively early in life. In Alzheimer’s disease, small deposits of a protein called amyloid build up in the brain. In the dementia in Down’s syndrome study, people with Down’s syndrome come to the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre in Cambridge to have two different types of brain scans. The first one, called MRI, looks at the structure of the brain, while the second type of scan, called a PET scan, can inform us whether people with Down’s syndrome have any amyloid in their brains. Using the data from these scans, we can see how the brains of people with Down’s syndrome are different to the brains of people in the general population, and how the brain changes when people with Down’s syndrome develop amyloid deposits and Alzheimer’s disease. So far, 38 people with Down’s syndrome have taken part in the study. After looking at the scans we have acquired so far, we have found that the amount of amyloid in the brain increases as people with Down’s syndrome get older. We have also found differences between people with Down’s syndrome and the general population in terms of how thick the grey matter is in certain parts of the brain, as well as alterations in the white matter connections of the brain (i.e. how the brain is ‘wired up.’) We are now working on writing up our findings for publication in a scientific journal in the near future. Remember to check in regularly at the CIDDRG website for details about publications!

 

For more information about the Dementia in Down’s syndrome study please contact the research assistants Liam Wilson and Tiina Annus. If you have Down’s syndrome, or if you know some who does and you think they may be interested in taking part in the study, Liam and Tiina will be able to tell you more the study and how you can take part.

Posted on 13/05/2014

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