Governor First Spouses Join with New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christie to Support Advances in Biomedical Research to Treat Down Syndrome Cognitive Impairment

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Cognition research funded by Research Down Syndrome and LuMind Foundation opens opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome and may identify potential treatments to lessen the impact of Alzheimer’s disease in persons with Down syndrome as well as the greater Alzheimer's community.

Drumthwacket, New Jersey Governor's residence, lit up in honor of Down syndrome cognition research on 3/21.

New Jersey First Lady Mary Pat Christie and Governor First Spouses across the country are again joining together to bring attention to Down syndrome cognition research, a bio-medical initiative targeted at developing drug therapies aimed at improving memory, learning and communication for individuals with Down syndrome. The First Spouse “Light the Way” event will be observed on World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), March 21, 2015. This date is particularly meaningful as Down syndrome results from the presence of three copies of chromosome 21. On the evening of that day, Drumthwacket, the official residence of the Governor of New Jersey will be illuminated in the color blue to symbolize First Lady Christie’s support of Down syndrome cognitive research.

To date, First Spouses from Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, and South Carolina have endorsed this event. We've been pleased by the great many states and territories that have participated in the past and hope to have even more in 2015. The goal of the Light the Way program is to expand awareness of Down syndrome cognitive research, including the efforts of the non-profit foundations Research Down Syndrome (RDS) and LuMind Foundation to fund this research. Mrs. Christie has stated, “I am inspired by initiatives which are designed to empower individuals in New Jersey and pleased that other First Spouses have joined this campaign to increase awareness about this research which brings a fresh approach to the complex issues related to the needs of those with intellectual disabilities.”

The Light the Way campaign will add support to RDS and LuMind efforts to educate and increase awareness and funding for Down syndrome cognition research. Research funded by the foundations is also making encouraging progress in identifying potential treatments to lessen the impact of Alzheimer’s disease in persons with Down syndrome. Alzheimer’s disease is 3-5 times more likely to occur, at an earlier age of onset, in individuals with Down syndrome.

In the last few years, researchers have made significant progress toward understanding and treating the cognitive issues associated with Down syndrome. This initiative has led to the discovery of multiple drug targets and supported the initiation of four clinical trials testing potential drug treatments. These studies now provide the promise of biomedical therapies for improving memory, learning and communication in individuals with Down syndrome, offering the potential for increased life opportunities.

In other WDSD recognitions, Research Down Syndrome and LuMind have joined in raising awareness of the promise of Down syndrome cognition research by organizing the World Down Syndrome Day 321 Virtual Run/Walk. On March 21, thousands will be joining in running or walking any distance recognizing 321, such as 3.21miles, 321 yards, 3.21 laps…and so on…all as a creative effort to promote the benefits of exercise on cognitive health and support Down syndrome cognition research. In addition, LuMind Foundation will be offering a 3:1 match for all donations received during the March 21, 2015 weekend.

About Research Down Syndrome and LuMind Foundation
Research Down Syndrome and LuMind Foundation are non-profit foundations that support and fund Down syndrome cognition research conducted at leading institutions that are studying the basis of the intellectual impairments associated with Down syndrome, including Johns Hopkins University, Emory University, Stanford University, The University of Arizona, and the University of California, San Diego. Recent scientific advances have revolutionized this field of research, providing for the near term development of targeted medical therapies to treat the cognitive challenges associated with Down syndrome, improving memory, learning and communication, expanding and enhancing life opportunities, for people of all ages with Down syndrome. Research Down Syndrome and LuMind Foundation are legal corporate entities and 501(c) (3) nonprofit organizations designated by the Internal Revenue Code. For more information, please visit http://www.researchds.org or http://www.lumindfoundation.org.

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