• N. J. Cairns
Conference paper


The more effective treatment of heart disease and infections during infancy and young adulthood has led to a remarkable increase in life expectancy of patients with Down’s syndrome (DS) from about 10 years at the beginning of the twentieth century to more than 70% surviving to their sixth decade at its end (Baird and Sadovnick, 1987). Unfortunately, this increased longevity has been associated with dementia in a population already mentally handicapped. The discovery of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the brains of elderly Down’s syndrome patients has provided a unique model for studying the pathogenesis of the disease. Conversely, new insights that have been gained from the molecular genetics and biology of Alzheimer’s disease may be helpful in leading to novel treatments for sporadic and familial forms of Alzheimer’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease in Down’s syndrome.


Down Syndrome Neurofibrillary Tangle Senile Plaque Neuritic Plaque Dystrophic Neurites 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. J. Cairns
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neuropathology, Institute of PsychiatryKing’s CollegeLondonUK

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