What are the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer disease (AD) in Down syndrome (DS)?

Updated: Nov 13, 2019
  • Author: Norberto Alvarez, MD; Chief Editor: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA  more...
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This progressive neurodegenerative disorder affects multiple components of the central nervous system (CNS). The clinical signs and symptoms are an expression of continuous progressive neuronal dysfunction and death. [57, 66, 67]

One of the most sensitive and specific symptoms of Alzheimer disease (AD) in people without Down syndrome (DS) is a decline in the patient's ability to perform cognitive tasks related to employment, shopping, or household finance. When individuals with DS are employed or performing complex tasks with a certain degree of personal autonomy, noticing early signs of the disease might not be difficult. Because most individuals with DS have mental retardation, a history of decline in high-level premorbid cognitive abilities is usually difficult to document. For this reason, on average, approximately 1-2 years elapse between the early signs of the disease and the confirmation of the diagnosis. [15, 46]

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