This study will examine the effect of Alzheimer's disease pathology on the organisation of brain networks in people with Down syndrome compared to people in the general population who are at high risk of Alzheimer's disease and people who are at low risk of Alzheimer's disease. People with Down syndrome have a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However they are typically excluded from Alzheimer's disease prevention research. Including people with Down syndrome in this type of research is important from an equity perspective and could also provide insight into the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease for all.
The PREVENT study is part of an international study examining early biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease in the general population in mid-life and before clinical stages of the disease. This pilot will adapt the PREVENT protocol so that it is suitable for people with Down syndrome. The neuroimaging, blood, and neuropsychological data collected in this process will then be analyzed.
The organisation of brain networks in people with Down syndrome at the asymptomatic stage of Alzheimer's disease will be compared to people from the PREVENT study at high risk for Alzheimer's disease and at low risk for Alzheimer's disease. Neurofilament light protein has been found to be a reliable marker of Alzheimer's disease pathology in people with Down syndrome. The association between this protein will be examined in relation to the organisation of brain networks in people with Down syndrome.
The relationship between the organisation of brain networks and scores on neuropsychological assessments will be examined and give us a better understanding of the early cognitive changes as a result of Alzheimer's disease in people with Down syndrome. Through establishing the adapted PREVENT protocol, this pilot will inform the development of a large national study – PREVENT dementia - DS.