More information

Thank you for your interest in our study. This page will tell you what our study is about, and why we are doing it.

 

We are doing this study because some people with Down’s syndrome (DS) have problems with their memory when they get older.  This also happens to some people who don’t have DS, and it is called dementia. We think that this happens because of a chemical called Amyloid. It looks a bit like this.

 

People with DS might have more Amyloid in their brains than other people, so we need to take a look at their brains using special cameras to see if Amyloid is causing their memory problems. The pictures are called brain scans. There are two kinds of special camera that can take brain scans, and they are called the MRI scanner and the PET scanner.

 

 This is what the MRI Scanner looks like. The MRI scanner is the first machine that we will use to take your brain scan.

There is a bed that you can lie down on. Once you lie down and get comfortable, the bed will lift up, and it will move backwards into the scanner.

The MRI scanner will take about 30 minutes to take a brain scan, and you will need to lie still while the scanner is on. This kind of brain scan is not dangerous as long as you don’t have any metal inside your body. We will ask you before you go inside if you have any metal inside your body. 

 

While the scanner is taking a picture of your brain, you will hear a loud knocking sounds, so we will ask you to wear some headphones. You will not feel anything during the scan. There won’t be anyone else in the room while you are in the scanner, but we will be in the next room and we will be able to see you through a window. 

 

When the scanner has finished taking your brain scan, we will see a picture that looks a little bit like the picture below. After this brain scan, it will be time to take a break. You can take time to relax, and have a snack and something to drink.  

After you have had a break, we will go to the PET scanner. This is the special camera that can take pictures of the Amyloid in people’s brains. You can see the PET scanner in the picture below, on the right.

 

 

Before you go into the PET scanner, we will need to give you a small amount of something called radiation. People get radiation everyday, as they walk around doing normal things, and especially when they go somewhere on an aeroplane. We will give you the same amount of radiation as you would get in a year of doing normal things. This is also the same as if you went to Australia and back on a plane. It is not very much, and will not make you poorly. 

 

In order to put the radiation into your body, we will have to give you a small needle, but this doesn’t hurt! A nice lady called Gloria will rub some special cream on your arm, to stop the needle from hurting you. 
The PET scan takes much longer than the MRI scan, and you will need to lie still for about one and a half hours. But there is no noise, and only your head needs go in the machine. So while the machine scans your brain, you can relax and listen to some music, or even fall asleep if you like. Once the scan is finished, we’ll be able to see if there is any Amyloid in your brain. 

 

After the PET scan is finished, all the scanning will be finished, and you will be able to go home!