University of Arizona  Down Syndrome Research Group  
Issue: # 1 July 2013
In This Issue
Alzheimer's Disease
Breaking News
People in our lab
Up Next: Language
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Dear Friends and Colleagues:

The University of Arizona Down Syndrome Research Group ( is a group of world renowned researchers and UA students with one goal- to better understand the cognitive and behavioral outcomes in Down syndrome so we can best guide treatment approaches. We are unique in that we are a research group completely devoted to Down syndrome; we currently have seven funded studies all about Down syndrome! We hope to build a Down syndrome Center of Excellence that will support research endeavors as well as to provide community resources. This is the first installment of our newsletter distributed to help inform the community about all of the happenings in our very active group! 
We hope that you can see, as we do, all the potential to help those with Down syndrome and their families! 
Please visit us at Booth #42 at the NDSC conference starting tomorrow in Denver. We would be happy to share our work with you!
-Jamie Edgin, PhD, Assistant Professor & Lynn Nadel, Regents Professor, DSRG Directors, University of Arizona Psychology Department  


Alzheimer's Disease in Down Syndrome

The DSRG is engaging in research to make a difference in our understanding of the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD) in DS. Despite the ability to often lead successful and productive lives, adults with DS succumb to AD at an alarming rate. While AD-related neuropathology is present in nearly everyone with DS by age 35 years, at least 50 percent will manifest with cognitive decline from the disease after age 50 years. We are beginning collaborations with Marwan Sabbagh, MD, Director of the Banner Sun Health Research Institute, to better understand AD in DS. In addition, Jamie Edgin presented the DSRG's work at a National Institute of Health workshop on AD in DS, where she made recommendations regarding the best assessment strategies to measure cognition in aging adults in this population. The goal of the workshop was to develop a NIH research plan to tackle AD in this population moving forward. Lynn Nadel is also a member of the science board for a major UK study (led by Andre Strydom) addressing AD in DS and visited London this month to share our knowledge and recommendations. Much of what we do involves forming close collaborations between the community of researchers working in this area worldwide.
Breaking News! 
Dr. Lynn Nadel has been awarded the International Sisley-Jerome Lejeune Award for 2013 for his work on Down Syndrome here in Arizona. Dr. Nadel will presented with the award in Paris in October 2013. Congratulations Lynn! 
People from Around the Globe - Here in Arizona all Working on DS  

Our group aims to help those with Down syndrome through multiple avenues. Through our research we have trained many students to work with children and adults with Down syndrome. We usually have at least 10-15 undergraduates working in the lab, and we currently have 3 graduate students and one postdoctoral fellow. A number of our students have come from overseas to receive training with us.

For instance, Dr. Anne Van Hoogmoed (pictured here), an expert in neurophysiological measures in infants, has moved from the Netherlands to apply her skills working on DS with our group. We also have a student arriving from China and one from Italy, making our work on DS truly an international effort! Anne's study on noninvasive measures of brain activity is just about to start; we are recruiting participants ages 16 years and older to participate in this important and unique study. Please contact us at 520-626-0244 if you and your child would be willing to participate. We thank DSRTF, RDS, and the Lejeune foundation for their support of Anne's new study.

The extent of our student training is something we are very proud of; we hope to train some of the best and brightest investigators, clinicians, social workers, and teachers that will move this field forward!
Up Next: Language

Language and communication skills are a major concern for those with Down syndrome and their families. We are addressing this issue in two different facets of our work. First, we recently received National Institute of Health funding, along with four nationwide sites, to develop language assessments for Down syndrome across the next five years. Second, quality sleep may be crucially important to learning, including language acquisition. Several of our studies address the links between poor sleep and language learning in children with Down syndrome. Helping those with DS to more effectively communicate is the goal. We are excited to get these projects underway to help increase our understanding of the best ways to support these skills in DS. 
We are currently completing studies in children with and without Down syndrome ages 2 years to adulthood. Contact us to participate at or 520-626-0244.