The brain scanning study finished in December 2015. We did this study to find out what changes in the brains of people with Down’s syndrome when they get Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a kind of dementia that causes people to forget things. Scientists think that a chemical in the brain called amyloid plays a role in causing Alzheimer’s disease. In this study, we used a special camera called a PET scanner to see whether people with Down’s syndrome had any amyloid in their brains. We also took very detailed pictures of people brains with an MRI scanner. By putting the two different pictures together, we could see where the amyloid was in the brain, like in the example below. This example picture below shows amyloid (red) in a part of the brain called the striatum.
In our study, we found that the PET scan showed amyloid in the brains of all the people with Down’s syndrome who were over 49 years of age. We wrote a paper describing our findings, which you can read here.
Soon we will start doing another brain scanning study to look at amyloid in the brains of even more people with Down’s syndrome who are age 25 or older. We will also be doing a new kind of brain scan to look at another chemical called Tau. Scientists think that this chemical might also related to memory problems in people who have dementia. We will be studying Tau and amyloid together, to see how the levels of both of these chemicals change over three or four years. We will also be looking at brain activity with EEG.
If you are interested in taking part in this research, please send an email to email@example.com. We will get in touch with you soon to let you know more about the study and whether you will be able to take part.