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[Clinical-therapeutic study of dementia in people with Down syndrome and the effectiveness of donepezil in this population].

Revista de Neurologia 2005 August 2
INTRODUCTION: People with Down syndrome have an early aging process, especially form their 40s. There is a significant average of them who initiate, from that age on, a progressive decline of their cognitive and functional abilities, due to a primary degenerative process Alzheimer's disease type. When assessing response to treatment with, pilot clinical trials on this population have demonstrated real benefits therapeutically.

AIMS: To assess the efficacy and safety of a pharmacological treatment with donepezil over cognitive and behavioral disturbances on patients with Down syndrome older than 40 years, areas where family and professional educators of reference have observed cognitive and behavioral changes in comparison with their previous level of disability.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients have been selected from different institutions affiliated at the Catalan Foundation for the Down syndrome and by the Catalan Federation Pro Persons with Psychic Disability. Several deterioration, behavioral and functional assessment scales have been used, all of them validated into this population.

RESULTS: The results of study demonstrated that donepezil slowed the progression of the cognitive dysfunction, especially during the first three months of treatment. This occurred for both cognitive and social-behavioral outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS: Donepezil appears to be effective in the treatment of cognitive and behavioural disturbances associated with the progressive dementia syndrome in Down's. However, the sample sizes used in this, and all published studies are small and this emphasizes the need for a larger, multi-center trial to fully evaluate the nature and extent of the response of Down's syndrome patients to anticolinesterase therapy.

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