In December 2015, Lito Ramirez created DownSyndrome Achieves (DSA) with the mission to establish and maintain the first Down syndrome biobank in America open to all researchers studying the comorbidities, or other common diagnoses, in people with DS.
After years of preparation, in January 2020 DSA Biobank opened for business and began accepting applications from researchers. Many may think, that it’s great for people with DS, but it won’t impact my life. And there they would be mistaken because the comorbidities of DS are often diseases that affect the general population.
One of the examples is Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Research shows about 80-100% of people with DS will develop amyloid plaques in their brains, which is the underlying pathology of AD. It is not possible to test preventative treatments on people in the general population because we do not know who among them will develop dementia. But we know people with DS will, making them a control group. Many people with DS are now participating in AD studies and any breakthroughs will be a win-win for all populations.
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