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About the Research Study


Amyloid plaques (round deposits of an abnormal protein in the brain) are found in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease. Because the gene that makes the amyloid protein is on chromosome 21 and Down syndrome individuals have an extra chromosome 21, people with Down syndrome also develop amyloid plaque deposits and very frequently develop the forgetfulness typical of Alzheimer's disease much younger than people without Down syndrome. These amyloid plaques can begin to develop in the brain many years before any memory loss occurs. Until now, finding out if amyloid plaques are present in the brain could only be done by examining brain tissue, usually after death at the time of autopsy. This research study will use PET scanning with a radioactive drug (a chemical compound that gives off radiation similar to x-rays) called [C-11]PIB (and more commonly known as "PIB" for Pittsburgh Compound-B) to measure the presence and amount of amyloid deposits in the brains of subjects of different ages with Down syndrome. The results of the PET scans will be compared with measures of daily function and the results of a genetic test (called an "Apo-E test") to see if it's related to the presence of amyloid deposits.


In order to be able to participate in the study, the individual with Down syndrome must be able to meet the following study criteria:

Individuals who will not be able to participate in this study would include those who: