ElderLaw News — The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. — MD, VA, DC
ElderLaw News

ElderLaw News is a weekly e-newsletter that brings you reports of legal developments and other trends of vital interest to seniors and their advocates. This newsletter is brought to you by The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., William S. Fralin, Esq., President., William S. Fralin, Esq., President.

Down's Syndrome and the Link to Alzheimer's

The latest medical research is showing a link between the condition known as Down's Syndrome and the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Already scientists know there is a high incidence of Alzheimer's disease in people with Down's Syndrome. By age 40, 40 percent of individuals with Down's Syndrome develop Alzheimer's. By age 50, the percentage increases to 50 percent. Why is this so? Scientists are not sure, but they have noticed that all people with Down's Syndrome develop the plaques that cause Alzheimer's, and they begin to do so at an early age. However, what intrigues them is why 50 percent of the Down's Syndrome population DON’T develop the disease., even though they possess some of those troublesome plaques. Plaque is a sticky protein called amyloid-beta that covers nerve cells and inhibits the brain’s functioning.

Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that both Down's Syndrome and Alzheimer's have a related genetic component. People with Down's Syndrome have an extra 21st chromosome, and plaques develop from a precursor protein for amyloid-beta which is configured on the 21st chromosome, according to Dr. Cindy Lemere, an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. With this knowledge, some scientists like Dr. Brian Skotko, co-director of the Down's Syndrome Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, have begun experimental studies investigating the treatment of individuals with Down's Syndrome with certain drug therapies. Dr. Skotko is currently using the drug, scyllo-inositol developed by the Elan Corporation, to see if plaque formation can be blocked while other cells in the body are fortified. A possible side effect of the treatment may be enhancement of intellectual functioning. If plaque formation can be stopped or slowed, the theory is that individuals with Down's Syndrome may be able to function at higher levels. Those results should be available in the near future. In the meantime, he has lots of willing subjects who want to participate in his research.

Others are conflicted about this new possibility. One such person is Andy Majewski, whose son, Ben, has Down's Syndrome and works at the Down's Syndrome Program at Massachusetts General. The family considers Ben perfect, "so we don't look for any changes in him. But the prospect of Alzheimer’s makes you think a bit more about, if there's a potential cure, and this can unlock the code to Alzheimer's, we have to think about it a little more carefully." Of course, they will involve Ben in the decision. The family is still considering what to do. It's at least nice that now there may be options.



If you are interested in having an Elder Law attorney from The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. speak at an event, then please call us at:

Maryland (301) 214-2229
Virginia (703) 243-3200
Washington DC (202) 223-0270

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C.

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. is an elder law firm. We represent older persons, disabled persons, their families, and their advocates. The practice of elder law includes estate planning, estate and trust administration, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, titling of assets and designations of beneficiaries, guardianships, conservatorships, and public entitlements such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and SSI, disability planning, income tax planning and preparation, care management, and fiduciary services. For more information about The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C., please visit our website at http://www.chroniccareadvocacy.com.

Visit us on the world wide web

Our websites contain information about The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. and an archive of our newsletters and other estate planning, estate administration, and elder law articles and resources.


Distribution of This Newsletter

The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. encourages you to share this newsletter with anyone who is interested in issues pertaining to the elderly, the disabled and their advocates. The information in this newsletter may be copied and distributed, without charge and without permission, but with appropriate citation to The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. If you are interested in a free subscription to the Elder Law News, then please e-mail us at office@chroniccareadvocacy.com, telephone us at (703) 243-3200, or fax us at 703-841-9102.

This newsletter is not intended as a substitute for legal counsel. While every precaution has been taken to make this newsletter accurate, we assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or damages resulting from the use of the information in this newsletter. The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C. thanks the law firm of Hook Law Center for their input to this newsletter.

Copyright © 2006-14 by The Estate Planning & Elder Law Firm, P.C.