Study Helps Researchers Better Understand Brain Protein’s Role In Down Syndrome And Alzheimer’s Disease

Study Helps Researchers Better Understand Brain Protein’s Role In Down Syndrome And Alzheimer’s Disease
Findings of a new study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Waisman Center investigating the link between a protein typically associated with Alzheimer's disease, are revealing more information about the earliest stages of the neurodegenerative disease and that this protein's impact on memory and cognition may not be as clear as once thought. Alzheimer's disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. People with Down syndrome are born with an extra copy of the 21st chromosome, where the gene that codes for the amyloid- protein that leads to the development of plaques in the brain, a hallmark characteristic of Alzheimers disease, resides. According to the Alzheimer's Society of Canada (ASC), the incidence of Alzheimer's disease in people with Down syndrome is about three to five times greater than the general population. As with Alzheimers disease, the risk increases with age. Since HartleySiganpeople with Down syndrome have an additional copy of the 21st chromosome, they are prone to an over-production of the protein. Not everyone with Down syndrome, however, develops Alzheimers disease. A research team led by Sigan Hartley, UW-Madison assistant professor of human development and family studies, and Brad Christian, a
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