Alzheimer’s-DS Seminal Conference in Arizona

A packed house heard from leading scientists and clinicians at Global’s Research and Medical Care Roundtable: “Alzheimer’s Disease and Down Syndrome – What Parents and Caregivers Should Know.”

DS & AD Experts Drs. Dennis McGuire, Brian Chicoine, Ira Lott and Michael Rafii

Global’s Roundtable attracted world-renowned Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease experts to the NDSC Annual Convention in Phoenix, Arizona, on June 25. The half-day of topics on cutting-edge research and best-practices medical care included current research projects, promising trials, symptoms and signs of Alzheimer’s disease in Down syndrome, diagnosis of dementia, and behavioral issues in people with Down syndrome and dementia. Global is dedicated to supporting the exploration into the important relationship between Alzheimer’s and Down syndrome.

The experts presented their work and answered questions for 285 attendees – 85 percent self-advocates and family members, and 15 percent professionals. Thirty-two international attendees represented countries including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, México, Nigeria, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

“What an excellent offering for this conference! It reminds me of the profound impact the Global Down Syndrome Foundation is having,” said Karen Prewitt, Florida parent of a child with Down syndrome and Board Member of Down Syndrome Association of Jacksonville.

The Global Roundtable was broken into two panels: Clinical Care and Research. The Clinical Care Panel included moderator Dr. Brian Chicoine, presenters Dr. Ira Lott, Dr. Dennis McGuire, and Dr. Michael Rafii. The Research Panel included moderators Dr. Joaquin Espinosa and Dr. Tom Blumenthal, presenters Dr. Elliott Mufson, Dr. Huntington Potter and Dr. Donna Wilcock.

Dr. Lott’s research interest is focused on development and aging in Down syndrome. His Roundtable presentation examined the connection between seizures and dementia in individuals with Down syndrome. You can view his presentation powerpoint on the Global website.

In addition to his extensive research work, Lott is a member of Global’s Adults with Down Syndrome Task Force, a nearly 70 member committee made up of renowned medical professionals, activists, and self-advocates from around the world to help establish an Adult Down Syndrome Medical Center. ‎This new Center will complement Global’s existing affiliates — the Crnic Institute and the Sie Center for Down Syndrome — in providing a spectrum of research and medical care to the Down syndrome community.

Lott has received two national awards for his research and has been commended by the California State Senate for his work on behalf of individuals who are differently-abled. Lott’s research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, Alzheimer’s Association, and the State of California.


The Roundtable’s large audience reflected the keen interest the Down syndrome community has for Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease research. The scientific world now understands that 100 percent of people with Down syndrome have the “brain pathology” of Alzheimer’s disease. However, it is estimated that only 50 percent will get the actual symptoms of dementia associated with the disease. Clearly, answering the question why half of the people with Down syndrome, do NOT get dementia is a promising path towards treatments or a cure.

Learn more about Global’s Alzheimer’s Initiatives

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