Quick testing developed for Down syndrome

Aug. 30, 2010 at 2:05 AM
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TUCSON, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- A new battery of tests taking only 2 hours can assess the best drug and behavioral help for children with Down syndrome, U.S. researchers say.

"In the past when we would assess cognition in Down syndrome it would be over the course of several days," Lynn Nadel and Jamie Edgin of the Down Syndrome Research Group at the University of Arizona, Tucson, said in a statement.

The tests use non-language dependent computer exercises to determine what the researchers call a "developmental trajectory" of those with Down syndrome. The tests have been validated in a study published in the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

"The point is that these tasks in the test battery have been selected because they really hone in on the particular functions of the brain regions," Nadel said.

"What's equally important is that not only do they hone in on a particular brain region, but they also don't particularly depend on other brain regions. They're selective."

Also involved in the tests were researchers at Johns Hopkins University and Emory University.

In Down syndrome, the presence of an extra chromosome -- occurring once in about 800 to 1,000 live births -- can lead to health issues as well as mild to severe developmental disabilities.

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