Researchers, including clinicians from the Jérôme Le jeune Institute and the University of Chicago, recently published a paper on the possibility of a link between stress and the onset of dementia in patients with Down syndrome (Ds).

Journal citation:

Poumeaud Franç, Mircher C, Smith P, Faye P-A, Sturtz F, Decipheringthe links between psychological stress, depression, and neurocognitive decline in patients with Down syndrome, Neurobiology of Stress (2021), doi:


The researchers noticed that early cognitive decline in persons with Down syndrome often follows a traumatic psychological event.  They set out examine the “molecular and cellular events that may, to some extent, explain or support these clinical observations” (P. 3).  They concluded that people with Ds may be at a higher risk for developing “stress-induced Alzheimer’s disease (AD).”

The study includes a great deal of information that is important for caregivers of adults with Ds.  The following is a summary of that information.

Figure 1.

The full study is available for free online and I encourage parents and siblings to read the full study and share it with your loved one’s physician, especially if you notice a decline in abilities or suspect that your loved one is depressed.

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