Bringing you important info about topics that matter.

The DSAGSL will bring you a recap of what you might have missed in previous weeks as well as additional information about other important topics. If you would like more information about a particular issue featured in this edition, contact Erin at

Month of July Topic - Alzheimer's Disease

Coffee Talk - Down Synrome & Alzheimer's Disease
On Tuesday, June 17th we were welcomed by Jan McGillick, MSW, Director of Community Engagement at Dolan Memory Care Homes and previous employee at the Alzheimer’s Association. She shared with us important information about what Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are and how to recognize it in your loved one with Down syndrome. Below are important points from Jan's presentation. You can also find the information archived at the DSAGSL website.

          1.    Dementia is an umbrella term covering a wide range of medical conditions
         affecting memory, thinking, judgment, behavior, and feelings.

          2.    Alzheimer’s disease is a more common disease resulting in dementia. It is
         caused by the death of neurons due to tangles and amyloid plaque build-up in
         the brain.

    3.  Chromosome 21 carries a gene that produces one of the key protiens involved
         with changes in the brain caused by Alzheimer's. Scientists have also located
         genes on chromosome 21 that are involved in the aging process and that
         contribute to increased risk of Alzheimer's disease.

4.    All individuals are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s due to the build-up of
         plaques and tangles; however, not all individuals with Ds will develop the
         disease. Estimates indicated that 30% of individuals with Ds in the 50s will
         develop Alzheimer’s, and by their 60s, 50% will develop the disease. 

          5.    It is important to establish a baseline for your loved one’s physical and
         intellectual capabilities by the age of 35 through observation, documentation,
         and professional assessment. In doing so, you can better note any changes in
         your loved one’s behavior over time that may be indicative of Alzheimer’s
         disease: reduced sociability, decreased enthusiasm, decline in attention,
         sadness, fearfulness, anxiety, aggressiveness, decreased coordination and
         mobility, etc.

Additional Resources
For the complete presentation and handouts, visit the DSAGSL website. For more information about Down syndrome, aging, and Alzheimer’s, visit NDSS, the Alzheimer’s Association, The Association on Aging and Developmental Disabilities and the Knight Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Wash U. Finally, the DSAGSL attempts to offer as much information online for parents and caregivers across our region. You can visit the resource section of the DSAGSL website for access to information on many topics!

If you have specific questions or concerns about this topic, feel free to contact our office at 314.961.2504 or join our private Facebook group “DSAGSL Sharing Our Strategies.”

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