In a webinar in May 2022 hosted by the Down Syndrome Association of Wisconsin, Brian Chicoine, MD discussed Alzheimer's disease (AD) prevention and healthy aging in people with Down syndrome (DS). For people without DS, sleep apnea is one of the possible contributing factors to the development of AD. It has been suspected that this is also a concern for people with DS.
A study called Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Cerebrovascular Disease, and Amyloid in Older Adults with Down Syndrome Across the Alzheimer's Continuum provided evidence that sleep apnea is a risk for developing AD in people with DS as well. The study found that adults with DS and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) had more amyloid in the brain. Amyloid is a type of protein that builds up in the brains of people with AD. The authors concluded, "Importantly, OSA may be a modifiable risk factor that can be targeted for intervention in this population at risk for AD."
Resources on Alzheimer's disease in people with Down syndrome
Resources on sleep in people with Down syndrome