On the Design of Broad-Based Neuropsychological Test Batteries to Assess the Cognitive Abilities of Individuals with Down Syndrome in the Context of Clinical Trials

Ines A. Basten, Richard Boada, Hudson G. Taylor, Katherine Koenig, Veridiana L. Barrionuevo, Ana C. Brandao, Alberto C. S. Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalScientific review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Down syndrome (DS) is the most common genetically-defined cause of intellectual disability. Neurodevelopmental deficits displayed by individuals with DS are generally global, however, disproportionate deficits in cognitive processes that depend heavily on the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex are also well documented. Additionally, DS is associated with relative strengths in visual processing and visuospatial short-term memory, and weaknesses in the verbal domain. Although reports of pharmacological rescuing of learning and memory deficits in mouse models of DS abound in the literature, proving the principle that cognitive ability of persons with DS can be boosted through pharmacological means is still an elusive goal. The design of customized batteries of neuropsychological efficacy outcome measures is essential for the successful implementation of clinical trials of potential cognitive enhancing strategies. Here, we review the neurocognitive phenotype of individuals with DS and major broad-based test batteries designed to quantify specific cognitive domains in these individuals, including the one used in a pilot trial of the drug memantine. The main goal is to illustrate the essential considerations in planning trials to enhance cognitive functions in individuals with DS, which should also have implications for the design of similar studies in individuals with other forms of intellectual disability.
Original languageEnglish
Article number205
Number of pages21
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2018


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Down syndrome
  • Episodic memory
  • Executive function
  • Hippocampal deficits
  • Memantine
  • Neurocognitive phenotype
  • NMDA receptor
  • Working memory
  • hippocampal deficits
  • memantine
  • down syndrome
  • episodic memory
  • working memory
  • neurocognitive phenotype
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • executive function

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