Are there any studies about adult down syndrome and dementia?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 14, 2017
A fellow caregiver asked...

Have there been studies done on adult down syndrome and dementia or Alzheimer's?

Expert Answers

Joanne Koenig Coste is a nationally recognized expert on Alzheimer's care and an outspoken advocate for patient and family care. She is the author of Learning to Speak Alzheimer's. Also, she currently is in private practice as an Alzheimer's family therapist. Ms. Koenig Coste also serves as President of Alzheimer Consulting Associates, implementing state-of-the-art Alzheimer care throughout the United States.

Although estimates vary internationally, the consensus seems to be that 25 percent or more of individuals with Down syndrome over the age of 35 (this percentage increases with age) show clinical signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. The incidence of Alzheimer's disease in the Down syndrome population is estimated to be three to five times greater than in the general population, and oftentimes, symptoms begin much earlier. In the past decade, a great deal of research has supported the need for families to prepare for the possibility of the Down syndrome adult developing Alzheimer's disease. Since the presence of AD in later years is not an inevitability, it is important to be certain that symptoms that mimic AD do not arise from other conditions some of which may be treatable. Both the Down Syndrome website ( and the Alzheimer's Association site ( have useful information on the dual diagnosis which may be helpful to you.