CLEVELAND–Using ultra-high field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to map the brains of people with Down syndrome (DS), researchers from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and other institutions detected subtle differences in the structure and function of the hippocampus–a region of the brain tied to memory and learning.
Such detailed mapping, made possible by the high-powered MRI, is significant because it allowed the research team to better understand how each subregion of the hippocampus in people with DS is functionally connected to other parts of the brain.
“The ultimate goal of this approach is to have an objective technique to complement neuropsychological assessments to measure the functional skills of those with DS,” said Alberto Costa, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and the study’s senior author.
Their study was recently published in Brain Communications.
Down syndrome is a genetic condition typically caused by having an extra copy of chromosome 21. The extra chromosome changes how a baby’s body and brain develop, which can cause mental and physical challenges throughout the person’s life.
The intellectual and developmental disabilities of individuals with DS are typically generalized. In other words, although abilities can range widely among…