Dementia Associated With Most Deaths of Older Adults with Down Syndrome

Bottom Line: Older adults with Down syndrome are at increased risk for developing dementia. This study examined the effect of dementia on death rates in adults with Down syndrome in the United Kingdom. The study included 211 adults, of whom 66 had dementia with an average age at diagnosis of 52. Over the 5 ½-year study period, 27 adults died, 70 percent of whom had dementia, and their average age at death was 57. The study was limited by its small sample size. The high proportion of adults with Down syndrome who go on to develop dementia make this an important population for studying disease progression and potential treatments.

Authors: Rosalyn Hithersay, M.Sc., King’s College London, London, and coauthors


Related Material: The editorial, “Prevalence and Severity of Alzheimer Disease in Individuals With Down Syndrome,” by Michael S. Rafii, M.D., Ph.D., Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California, San Diego, and Stephanie L. Santoro, M.D., Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, also is available on the For The Media website.

To Learn More: The full study is available on the For The Media website.