Section Heading Background Image


For people with Down syndrome, family members, caregivers and professionals.

Assessment and Diagnosis of Down Syndrome Regression Disorder: International Expert Consensus

July 2022 | Santoro et al. (2022) - Frontiers in Neurology


Objective: To develop standardization for nomenclature, diagnostic work up and diagnostic criteria for cases of neurocognitive regression in Down syndrome.

Background: There are no consensus criteria for the evaluation or diagnosis of neurocognitive regression in persons with Down syndrome. As such, previously published data on this condition is relegated to smaller case series with heterogenous data sets. Lack of standardized assessment tools has slowed research in this clinical area.

Methods: The authors performed a two-round traditional Delphi method survey of an international group of clinicians with experience in treating Down syndrome to develop a standardized approach to clinical care and research in this area. Thirty-eight potential panelists who had either previously published on neurocognitive regression in Down syndrome or were involved in national or international working groups on this condition were invited to participate. In total, 27 panelists (71%) represented nine medical specialties and six different countries reached agreement on preliminary standards in this disease area. Moderators developed a proposed nomenclature, diagnostic work up and diagnostic criteria based on previously published reports of regression in persons with Down syndrome.

Results: During the first round of survey, agreement on nomenclature for the condition was reached with 78% of panelists agreeing to use the term Down Syndrome Regression Disorder (DSRD). Agreement on diagnostic work up and diagnostic criteria was not reach on the first round due to low agreement amongst panelists with regards to the need for neurodiagnostic testing. Following incorporation of panelist feedback, diagnostic criteria were agreed upon (96% agreement on neuroimaging, 100% agreement on bloodwork, 88% agreement on lumbar puncture, 100% agreement on urine studies, and 96% agreement on “other” studies) as were diagnostic criteria (96% agreement).

Conclusions: The authors present international consensus agreement on the nomenclature, diagnostic work up, and diagnostic criteria for DSRD, providing an initial practical framework that can advance both research and clinical practices for this condition.

Full text (no cost)


For additional resources, please see the Decline in Skills and Regression section of our library. 

Find More Resources

We offer a variety of resources for people with Down syndrome, their families and caregivers and the professionals who care for and work with them. Search our collection of articles, webinars, videos, and other educational materials.

View Resource Library


Please note: The information on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for a medical, psychiatric, mental health, or behavioral evaluation, diagnosis, or treatment plan by a qualified professional. We recommend you review the educational material with your health providers regarding the specifics of your health care needs.