Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London have identified a molecule that could be targeted to treat the cognitive impairment in people with Down syndrome. The study, published in Archives of General Psychiatry found that people with Down syndrome have higher levels of myo-inositol in their brains than people without the condition, and that increased levels of this molecule are associated with reduced intellectual ability.
The researchers also suspect that high levels of myo-inositol could play a role in predisposing people with Down syndrome to early-onset Alzheimers disease. The molecule is known to promote the formation of amyloid plaques - a hallmark of Alzheimers.
Once they reach 40 years old, almost all people with Down syndrome show the characteristic brain formations of Alzheimers disease, though they dont all go on to get dementia. The combination of pre-existing mental retardation with an increasing overlying dementia is difficult to treat, and expensive to manage.
Gemma Bradley | EurekAlert!
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