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Cognitive and Behavioral Domains That Reliably Differentiate Normal Aging and Dementia in Down Syndrome


Primary care integration of Down syndrome (DS)-specific dementia screening is strongly advised. The current study employed principal components analysis (PCA) and classification and regression tree (CART) analyses to identify an abbreviated battery for dementia classification. Scale- and subscale-level scores from 141 participants (no dementia n = 68; probable Alzheimer's disease n = 73), for the Severe Impairment Battery (SIB), Dementia Scale for People with Learning Disabilities (DLD), and Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-Second Edition (Vineland-II) were analyzed. Two principle components (PC1, PC2) were identified with the odds of a probable dementia diagnosis increasing 2.54 times per PC1 unit increase and by 3.73 times per PC2 unit increase. CART analysis identified that the DLD sum of cognitive scores (SCS < 35 raw) and Vineland-II community subdomain (<36 raw) scores best classified dementia. No significant difference in the PCA versus CART area under the curve (AUC) was noted (D(65.196) = -0.57683; p = 0.57; PCA AUC = 0.87; CART AUC = 0.91). The PCA sensitivity was 80% and specificity was 70%; CART was 100% and specificity was 81%. These results support an abbreviated dementia screening battery to identify at-risk individuals with DS in primary care settings to guide specialized diagnostic referral.

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