Physical activity and cognitive and imaging biomarkers of Alzheimer's disease in down syndrome.

Fleming, VictoriaPiro-Gambetti, BriannaPatrick, AustinZammit, MatthewAlexander, AndrewChristian, Bradley THanden, BenjaminCohen, AnnieKlunk, WilliamLaymon, CharlesAnces, Beau MPlante, David TOkonkwo, OziomaHartley, Sigan L


Adults with Down syndrome (DS) face increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease as they get older, but age of onset still varies among those with DS. Researchers analyzed brain structure imagery to better understand the connection between Alzheimer’s risk and daily activity. Continued studies are needed to determine if physical activity helps to decrease Alzheimer’s risk in patients with DS as they age.


Adults with Down syndrome (DS) are at risk for Alzheimer's disease. Despite sharing trisomy 21, however, there is variability in the age of disease onset. This variability may mean that other factors, such as lifestyle, influence cognitive aging and disease timing. The present study assessed the association between everyday life physical activity using an actigraph accelerometer and cognitive functioning and early Alzheimer's disease pathology via positron emission tomography amyloid-β and tau and diffusion tension imaging measures of white matter integrity in 61 non-demented adults with DS. Percent time in sedentary behavior and in moderate-to-vigorous activity were associated (negatively and positively, respectively) with cognitive functioning (r = -.472 to .572, p < 0.05). Neither sedentary behavior nor moderate-to-vigorous activity were associated with amyloid-β or tau, but both were associated with white matter integrity in the superior and inferior longitudinal fasciculus (Fractional Anisotropy: r = -.397 to -.419, p < 0.05; Mean Diffusivity: r = .400, p < 0.05). Longitudinal studies are needed to determine if physical activity promotes healthy aging in DS.


Alzheimer Disease