Sustainability of personal social networks of people with Down syndrome

Am J Med Genet C Semin Med Genet. 2024 Mar;196(1):e32064. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.c.32064. Epub 2023 Sep 22.


Research continues to demonstrate that the characteristics of one's social network could have an impact on the development of Alzheimer's disease. Given the predisposition of people with Down syndrome to develop Alzheimer's disease, analysis of their social networks has become an emerging focus. Previous pilot research demonstrated that the personal networks of people with DS could be quantitatively analyzed, with no difference between self-report and parent-proxy report. This manuscript focuses on a 12-month follow-up period with the same original participants (24 adults with Down syndrome). Their social networks demonstrated sustainability, but not improvement, as reported by people with DS (mean network size: 8.88; mean density: 0.73; mean constraint: 0.44; mean effective size: 3.58; mean max degree: 6.04; mean degree: 4.78) and their proxies (mean network size: 7.90; mean density: 0.82; mean constraint: 53.13; mean effective size: 2.87; mean max degree: 5.19; mean degree: 4.30). Intentional and continued efforts are likely needed in order to improve the social network measures of people with Down syndrome.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Down syndrome; dementia; personal networks; social networks; trisomy 21.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alzheimer Disease*
  • Down Syndrome*
  • Humans