Trajectory of dementia: is it different for people with Down syndrome?

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Down syndrome is the most common cause of learning disability in the UK and increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia is well documented.

In her debut blog, Silvana Mengoni looks at a paper which uses three case studies to consider some interesting trajectories of dementia which raise some interesting questions.

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Managing the care of adults with Down syndrome

RCGP annual health check guidance

Down syndrome is the most common cause of learning disability in the UK and life expectancy has shown a dramatic increase in the last fifty years. However, people with Down syndrome face significant health issues.

In this blog, GP Matt Hoghton looks at a recent clinical review published in the BMJ, which provides advice and guidance on managing care and support for people with Down syndrome.

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Visual deficits in adults with Down syndrome explored

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Research by SeeAbility and the RNIB suggests that adults with learning disabilities are ten times more likely to be blind or partially sighted than the rest of the population. If they have severe or profound learning disabilities, then they are likely to have serious sight problems. There already exists some guidance for GPs on responding [read the full story…]

Comparison of chlorhexidine application methods on dental health of people with Down syndrome


Periodontal disease refers to issues relating to or affecting the tissues surrounding the neck and root of a tooth, It is a significant oral health problem for people with Down syndrome. It can be a cause of tooth loss and has a number of contributing factors, which includes poor oral hygiene. Antimicrobial agents like chlorhexidine [read the full story…]

New research begins to focus on therapeutic interventions on the underlying cause of learning disabilities


With the background of 11% of total United States government spending for disability support in 2006, the authors from Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School highlight the financial and social imperatives to improve services for people with learning disabilities. They remind us that most of the current focus on research has been on environmental [read the full story…]

Children with Down syndrome improved developmental quotient scores through responsive teaching in small RCT


Background There are relatively few randomised controlled trials in interventions to support people with learning disabilities. There are often significant difficulties in design in multi-element real-life interventions, along with a range of ethical issues to consider. The researchers in this Turkish study however were keen to use the methodology to look at responsive teaching for [read the full story…]

Call for volunteers to help in Defeat Dementia in Down’s Syndrome study


People with Down syndrome are more likely to develop dementia than those without and this is more likely to occur at an earlier age, where clinical symptoms can occur when people are in their late 40s or early 50s. Now researchers at the University of Cambridge are embarking on a study to look at why [read the full story…]

Palatal plate therapy indicated in severe cases of orofacial dysfunction but only as part of holistic multi-disciplinary management


We recently posted about the findings of a review of the literature relating to orofacial regulation therapy which concluded that whilst the results of published studies inferred significant positive impacts, there was a need for larger multi-centre research to produce more statistically significant and valid results. Given these findings, this paper looked in more detail [read the full story…]

Orofacial regulation therapy has positive impact but evidence base needs more robust studies

People with Down syndrome often have orofacial difficulties (a term that relates to the mouth and face) which can affect speech, swallowing and dental health. The Journal of Disability and Oral Health has recently published two reviews looking at this issue. The first looked at Orofacial regulation therapy (OFRT), developed in the 1970s by Castillo-Morales, [read the full story…]

Canadian Survey data show high reported rates of heart disease and thyroid disorder but low reports of arthritis, migraines, back pain and allergies


We know that people with learning disabilities have a higher risk of a range of health conditions. Studies in the UK have shown that they have a shorter life expectancy with increased risk of early death compared to the general population, and health screening by GPs has shown significantly  high levels of unmet physical and [read the full story…]