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Alternative diagnoses in the work up of Down syndrome regression disorder

Alternative diagnoses in the work up of Down syndrome regression disorder

Journal article

Down Syndrome Regression Disorder (DSRD) is a diagnosis of exclusion. Psychiatric and neuroimmunologic etiologies have been proposed although the exact etiology remains unknown. This study sought to review non-DSRD diagnoses at a large quaternary medical center specializing in the diagnosis of DSRD and compare clinical characteristics between those diagnosed with DSRD and those with non-DSRD diagnoses. The authors performed a single-center retrospective, chart-based, review of referrals for developmental regression in individuals with Down syndrome. Two hundred and sixty-six individuals were evaluated for DSRD and of these, 54 (20%) ultimately had alternative diagnoses. Individuals with DSRD were more likely to have shorter nadir to clinical symptoms (p = 0.01, 95% CI: 0.36-0.47) and have preceding triggers (p < 0.001, 95% CI: 1.13-1.43) compared to those with alternative diagnoses. Individuals with non-DSRD diagnoses were more likely to be born premature (p = 0.01, 95% CI: 0.51-0.87) and have a history of epilepsy (p = 0.01, 95% CI: 0.23-0.77) but were also less likely to have a history of cytokine abnormalities on bloodwork (p < 0.001, 95% CI: 1.19-1.43) and have catatonia (p < 0.001, 95% CI: 1.54-2.17). The majority of alternative diagnoses (41/54, 76%) were autism spectrum disorder. In these cases, symptoms were more likely to be longstanding (symptoms > 12 months) and earlier onset (median 8 years, IQR: 6-11). Other diagnoses included epilepsy (5/54, 9%), celiac disease (5/54, 9%), cerebrovascular disease (3/54, 6%). This study identifies that 20% of individuals referred with concerns for DSRD have alternative diagnoses. The majority of these diagnoses were autism, but rare treatable conditions were also identified, highlighting the importance of a thorough neurodiagnostic assessment.

Source: Santoro JD, Khoshnood MM, Nguyen L, Vogel BN, Boyd NK, Paulsen KC, Rafii MS. Alternative Diagnoses in the Work Up of Down Syndrome Regression Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord. 2023 Aug 16. doi: 10.1007/s10803-023-06057-9. Epub ahead of print.

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