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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You Can See It In Their Eyes

Have you ever heard the expression "The eyes are the windows to the soul"?  Well, they may actually be the windows to the brain as well.   I read a study from Science Daily that says researchers have found a link to Alzheimer's Disease in the eyes of children with Down syndrome.  That link is actually a protein called amyloid-[beta].  It forms plaque in the brains of Alzheimer's patients and causes cataracts in the eyes of children with DS.  Can this mean that if your child with DS has cataracts that are caused by this toxic protein they might also get early onset Alzheimer's Disease?  Could be.  It's been shown that 100% of people with Down syndrome get Alzheimer's disease, and many of them get it very early in their lives. "This is because they have an extra copy of a key Alzheimer's gene that leads to increased amyloid-[beta] accumulation in the brain." says Goldstein (the lead researcher in this study).  He also said that the scientists are working to develop a scanner that would test the amount of amyloid-[beta] in the lens and therefore be able to possibly provide early detection.  You can read the study for yourself at the link below.  I have also provided another link that talks about many other eye problems that are faced by people with DS.

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