Thursday, 24 March 2016

Research news and commentary #3 for 2016

MGHfC study finds positive attitudes prevail within families of people with Down syndrome
Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, 8 March 2016
... “Our study demonstrates that positive attitudes tend to dominate within modern-day families who have members with Down syndrome, although the challenges were not insignificant for some,” says Brian Skotko, MD, MPP, co-director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Down Syndrome Program and corresponding author of the study. “These findings come at a crucial time when more pregnant couples are receiving prenatal diagnoses and wondering what the diagnosis will mean for them.” ...
Learning with the Lights Out
Jenny Rood, The Scientist, 1 March 2016
... Toddlers who sleep less than 10 hours display lasting cognitive deficits, even if they catch up on sleep later in their development (Sleep, 30:1213-19, 2007). The effects are particularly strong in children with developmental disorders, who often suffer from sleep disruptions. “Kids with Down syndrome that are sleep-impaired look like they have very large differences in language,” says Jamie Edgin of the University of Arizona who studies sleep and cognition in such children. When comparing Down syndrome children who are sleep deprived with those who sleep normally, she has observed a vocabulary difference of more than 190 words on language tests, even after controlling for behavioral differences ...

Australian national University (ANU), Dept of demography
Investigating the ways in which families in Australia having a child or children with disability are different or similar to families in Australia having a child or children with no disability ... Parents of a child with disability who is currently aged from 0 to 19 years are invited to participate in research interviews ...

Healthy Aging in People with Down Syndrome
Elizabeth Head and Frederick Schmitt, University of Kentucky (via DSRF blog), 12 February 2016
People with Down syndrome are living long, productive and healthy lives. However, although many people remain healthy as they get older, there is an increasing risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. In people with Down syndrome, this risk is much higher because of the extra copy of a gene for the amyloid precursor protein on chromosome 21 ... The good news is, not everyone with Down syndrome will develop dementia even in their later years. Our goal is to identify ways to help people with Down syndrome age gracefully and enjoy their older years ...

Genomic analysis pinpoints a potential target for treatment of Down syndrome
Bill Hathaway, Yale News, 26 February 2016
A study of changes in the patterns of gene activity in the brains of people with Down syndrome reveals that the formation of the brain’s white matter is affected throughout life, a finding that suggests treatment might be possible for the condition that affects 400,000 Americans ...
A new study indicates that children with Down syndrome who have motor speech deficits have been inadequately diagnosed, which could have a major impact on the interventions used by speech pathologists when treating patients ...

Project aims to improve learning in young people with Down Syndrome
Kristie Auman-Bauer, Penn State News, 5 February 2016
Children with Down Syndrome face many unique challenges, including being able to communicate effectively as they enter into their school years. A new Penn State study is looking to improve communications aids to better meet their academic and social needs ...

NI  (Northern Ireland) research shines light on Down’s syndrome mystery
Ulster TV News,  8 February 2016
Ulster University scientists undertaking ground-breaking research have discovered one of the underlying causes of why many children with Down’s syndrome have poor near-vision

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