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Concept: Down syndrome


Approximately one third of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities have emotion dysregulation and challenging behaviors (CBs). Although research has not yet confirmed that existing treatments adequately reduce CBs in this population, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) holds promise, as it has been shown to effectively reduce CBs in other emotionally dysregulated populations. This longitudinal single-group pilot study examined whether individuals with impaired intellectual functioning would show reductions in CBs while receiving standard DBT individual therapy used in conjunction with the Skills System (DBT-SS), a DBT emotion regulation skills curriculum adapted for individuals with cognitive impairment. Forty adults with developmental disabilities (most of whom also had intellectual disabilities) and CBs, including histories of aggression, self-injury, sexual offending, or other CBs, participated in this study. Changes in their behaviors were monitored over 4 years while in DBT-SS. Large reductions in CBs were observed during the 4 years. These findings suggest that modified DBT holds promise for effectively treating individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Concepts: Psychology, Population, Down syndrome, Developmental disability, Disability, Emotion, Behaviorism, Emotional dysregulation


Deletion and duplication of the -3.7-Mb region in 17p11.2 result in two reciprocal syndrome, Smith-Magenis syndrome and Potocki-Lupski syndrome. Smith-Magenis syndrome is a well-known developmental disorder. Potocki-Lupski syndrome has recently been recognized as a microduplication syndrome that is a reciprocal disease of Smith-Magenis syndrome. In this paper, we report on the clinical and cytogenetic features of two Korean patients with Smith-Magenis syndrome and Potocki-Lupski syndrome. Patient 1 (Smith-Magenis syndrome) was a 2.9-yr-old boy who showed mild dysmorphic features, aggressive behavioral problems, and developmental delay. Patient 2 (Potocki-Lupski syndrome), a 17-yr-old boy, had only intellectual disabilities and language developmental delay. We used array comparative genomic hybridization (array CGH) and found a 2.6 Mb-sized deletion and a reciprocal 2.1 Mb-sized duplication involving the 17p11.2. These regions overlapped in a 2.1 Mb size containing 11 common genes, including RAI1 and SREBF.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Copy number variation, Genome, Syndromes, Down syndrome, Array comparative genomic hybridization, Comparative genomic hybridization


Distinct isoforms of the PI3K catalytic subunit have specialized functions in the brain, but their role in cognition is unknown. Here, we show that the catalytic subunit p110β plays an important role in prefrontal cortex (PFC)-dependent cognitive defects in mouse models of Fragile X syndrome (FXS), an inherited intellectual disability. FXS is caused by loss of function of the fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP), which binds and translationally represses mRNAs. PFC-selective knockdown of p110β, an FMRP target that is translationally upregulated in FXS, reverses deficits in higher cognition in Fmr1 knockout mice. Genetic full-body reduction of p110β in Fmr1 knockout mice normalizes excessive PI3K activity, restores stimulus-induced protein synthesis, and corrects increased dendritic spine density and behavior. Notably, adult-onset PFC-selective Fmr1 knockdown mice show impaired cognition, which is rescued by simultaneous p110β knockdown. Our results suggest that FMRP-mediated control of p110β is crucial for neuronal protein synthesis and cognition.

Concepts: Brain, Autism, Down syndrome, Mental retardation, Disability, Fragile X syndrome, FMR1, Dendritic spine


Despite increased awareness and concern about children with developmental disabilities wandering away from adult supervision, there is a paucity of research about elopement. This is the first study to examine and report the prevalence and correlates of elopement in a nationally representative sample of school-age children in the United States with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and/or cognitive impairment. Data were obtained from the CDC’s “Pathways” Survey, a follow-up telephone survey of the parents of 4,032 children with a developmental condition. 3,518 children that had ASD, intellectual disability (ID), and/or developmental delay (DD) at the time of survey administration were included for analysis. Children were divided into three condition groups: ASD-only; ID/DD-only; ASD+ID/DD. Logistic regression analyses were used to compare the prevalence of elopement and rates of preventive measure use (barriers and/or electronic devices) across condition groups, and to examine the clinical and demographic correlates of elopement. T-tests were also performed to compare scores on the Children’s Social Behavior Questionnaire (CSBQ) between wanderers and non-wanderers. Overall, 26.7% of children had reportedly eloped within the previous year, most commonly from public places. Children with ASD-only and ASD+ID/DD were more likely to have eloped than those with ID/DD-only. Across all groups, wanderers scored higher than non-wanderers on five out of six CSBQ subscales; they were more likely not to realize when there is danger, to have difficulty distinguishing between strangers and familiar people, to show sudden mood changes, to over-react to everything/everyone, to get angry quickly, to get lost easily, and to panic in new situations or if change occurs. Even after controlling for elopement history, parents of children in the ASD+ID/DD group were more likely than those in the other condition groups to report using physical or electronic measures to prevent wandering.

Concepts: Regression analysis, United States, Autism, Down syndrome, Autism spectrum, Mental retardation, Developmental disability, Disability


Since the early 1970s, the ethical norm governing counselors involved in testing and screening for genetic conditions related to reproduction has been strict neutrality. Counseling about reproductive genetics was to be patient centered but nondirective. Many advocates for people with Down syndrome believe that high abortion rates following a diagnosis of this condition show an unfounded bias against those with Down syndrome. These advocates have succeeded in enacting federal and state legislation that requires women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome to receive positive information about the condition, thereby ending the nominal goal of value-neutral counseling and setting the stage for further normative shifts in clinical reproductive genetics as counseling expands because of cell-free testing.

Concepts: Genetics, Reproduction, Organism, Greek loanwords, Down syndrome, Sexual reproduction, Prenatal diagnosis, Normative ethics


Immune abnormalities have been described in some individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) as well as their family members. However, few studies have directly investigated the role of prenatal cytokine and chemokine profiles on neurodevelopmental outcomes in humans. In the current study, we characterized mid-gestational serum profiles of 22 cytokines and chemokines in mothers of children with ASD (N=415), developmental delay (DD) without ASD (N=188), and general population (GP) controls (N=428) using a bead-based multiplex technology. The ASD group was further divided into those with intellectual disabilities (developmental/cognitive and adaptive composite score<70) (ASD+ID, N=184) and those without (composite score⩾70) (ASD-noID, N=201). Levels of cytokines and chemokines were compared between groups using multivariate logistic regression analyses, adjusting for maternal age, ethnicity, birth country and weight, as well as infant gender, birth year and birth month. Mothers of children with ASD+ID had significantly elevated mid-gestational levels of numerous cytokines and chemokines, such as granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor, interferon-γ, interleukin-1α (IL-1α) and IL-6, compared with mothers of children with either ASD-noID, those with DD, or GP controls. Conversely, mothers of children with either ASD-noID or with DD had significantly lower levels of the chemokines IL-8 and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 compared with mothers of GP controls. This observed immunologic distinction between mothers of children with ASD+ID from mothers of children with ASD-noID or DD suggests that the intellectual disability associated with ASD might be etiologically distinct from DD without ASD. These findings contribute to the ongoing efforts toward identification of early biological markers specific to subphenotypes of ASD.Molecular Psychiatry advance online publication, 24 May 2016; doi:10.1038/mp.2016.77.

Concepts: Immune system, Regression analysis, Cytokines, Autism, Chemokine, Down syndrome, Mental retardation, Developmental disability


In order to provide the best genetic counseling possible for women who learn of a diagnosis of Down syndrome prenatally, we sought to assess the timing of the decision to continue a pregnancy and the satisfaction these women had with learning this information. Fifty-six mothers of children with Down syndrome diagnosed prenatally between 2007 and 2010 completed a survey regarding their experience with decision-making after prenatal diagnosis. Approximately one third (17/56) of participants reported they knew before getting pregnant that they would not terminate for any reason, and almost half of the participants (24/56) reported they did not decide to continue their pregnancy until after the diagnosis. Many participants (82 %; 42/56) stated that learning the diagnosis during pregnancy increased their anxiety. The majority (88 %; 45/56) also reported that if they could do it over again, they would undergo prenatal testing for preparation purposes, despite increased anxiety. Religious and spiritual beliefs as well as feeling attached to the baby were the personal factors that had the greatest impact on most women’s decision-making. Despite increased anxiety caused by learning the diagnosis prenatally, most women favored prenatal diagnosis as it allowed them time to process the information and prepare for the birth of their child.

Concepts: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Embryo, Obstetrics, Down syndrome, Prenatal diagnosis, Triple test, Amniocentesis


PURPOSE: The effects of Enhanced Milieu Teaching (EMT; Hancock & Kaiser, 2006) blended with Joint Attention, Symbolic Play and Emotional Regulation (JASPER; Kasari, Freeman, & Paparella, 2006) to teach spoken words and manual signs (Words + Signs) to young children with Down syndrome (DS) were evaluated in this study. METHOD: Four toddlers with Down syndrome between the ages of 23 and 29 months were enrolled in a multiple baseline design across participants study. Following baseline, twenty 20-30 minute play based treatment sessions occurred twice weekly. Spoken words and manual signs were modeled and prompted by a therapist using EMT/JASPER teaching strategies. Generalization to interactions with parents at home was assessed. RESULTS: There was a functional relation between the therapist’s implementation of EMT/JASPER Words + Signs and all four children’s use of signs during the intervention. Gradual increases in children’s use of spoken words occurred, but there was not a clear functional relation. All children generalized their use of signs to their parents at home. CONCLUSIONS: Infusing manual signs with verbal models within a framework of play, joint attention, and naturalistic language teaching appears to facilitate development of expressive sign and word communication in young children with DS.

Concepts: Psychology, Language, Word, Down syndrome, Programming language, Semiotics, Language education, Language school


In this article, we report on that aspect of our ongoing simulation project which focuses on the cultural needs of a ‘virtual’ young man living with profound and multiple intellectual disabilities, who is British Asian and receives care in a residential setting. We describe our involvement with a local agency who support families from black and minority ethnic populations and who have children with a variety of intellectual disabilities. We then go on to detail the focus group we attended and how we incorporated the data generated into a more comprehensive story for our ‘virtual’ young man, Ahmed.

Concepts: Demographics of the United States, Sociology, United Kingdom, Down syndrome, Race, Ethnic group, England, Developmental disability


Abstract Objective. In general the analytical epidemiological studies evaluated cases with congenital heart defects together. However, different congenital heart defect entities have different etiology, and in the vast majority of patients the underlying causes are unclear. Thus the objective of the study was to evaluate the possible etiological factors in the origin of single ventricular septal defect (VSD) after surgical intervention or lethal outcome, i.e. as homogeneous as possible. Method. In the population-based large dataset of the Hungarian Case-Control Surveillance of Congenital Abnormalities acute and chronic maternal diseases with related drug treatments and pregnancy supplements in early pregnancy were evaluated in the mothers of 1,661 cases with isolated/single VSD and their 2,534 matched and 38,151 all controls without defect, and 19,833 malformed controls with other isolated non-cardiac defect. Results. There was a higher risk of VSD in the children of mothers with high fever related influenza during the critical period of VSD and this risk was limited by antifever therapy. In addition paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia and epilepsy treated with anticonvulsant drugs associated with higher risk of VSD. Finally the high doses of folic acid alone in early pregnancy Conclusions. H high fever related maternal diseases may have a role in the origin of VSD which is preventable with antifever drug therapy, and the high doses of folic acid in early pregnancy were able to reduce the risk of VSD.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Down syndrome, Congenital heart defect, Congenital heart disease, Ventricular septal defect