As people with Down syndrome live longer than ever before, the National Institutes of Health is looking to reshape its efforts related to the chromosomal disorder.

The federal agency is tweaking its Down syndrome research priorities and adding a new focus on life’s later years and associated conditions.

The changes come in the first-ever update to the NIH’s Down Syndrome Research Plan. Originally issued in 2007, the revised plan was released last month.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

With statistics showing that life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased fourfold since 1960, the update includes a new section with goals related to aging with Down syndrome.

Additional areas of emphasis include understanding the progression of Down syndrome, options for treatment and management as well as objectives related to conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, congenital heart disease, hearing and vision problems, gastrointestinal problems, thyroid dysfunction and immune disorders that often co-occur.

Since 2007, the NIH said scientists have published nearly 350 papers addressing items outlined in the original plan.

Read more stories like this one. Sign up for Disability Scoop's free email newsletter to get the latest developmental disability news sent straight to your inbox.