“We wanted to learn more about how the brain is different in Down Syndrome compared to typical development, so we measured surface area and thickness, which both contribute to cortical volume but are determined by different genetic factors,” Lee added.
Down Syndrome is typically associated with physical growth delays and mild to moderate intellectual disability. The team performed structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brains of children and youth to better understand aspects of brain development.
Then they compared MRI measurements from 31 youth with Down Syndrome and 45 typically developing peers.
The cortex’s surface area was found to be lower in the youth with Down Syndrome. As the surface area is a component of the total volume, the latter was also lower in volume. Individuals with Down Syndrome are more likely to develop early-onset Alzheimer’s disease than the general population.
The study appeared in the journal Cerebral Cortex.