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Dev Disabil Res Rev. 2013;18(1):6-16. doi: 10.1002/ddrr.1123.

People with intellectual disability: what do we know about adulthood and life expectancy?

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Dichterbij, Center for the Intellectually Disabled, Medical Center, Gennep, The Netherlands.


Increases in the life expectancy of people with Intellectual Disability have followed similar trends to those found in the general population. With the exception of people with severe and multiple disabilities or Down syndrome, the life expectancy of this group now closely approximates with that of the general population. Middle and old age, which until 30 years ago were not recognized in this population, are now important parts of the life course of these individuals. Older adults with Intellectual Disabilities form a small, but significant and growing proportion of older people in the community. How these persons grow older and how symptoms and complications of the underlying cause of the Intellectual Disability will influence their life expectancy is of the utmost importance.


Angelman syndrome; Cornelia de Lange syndrome; Down syndrome; Prader-Willi syndrome; Rett syndrome; Sanfilippo syndrome; Williams Beuren syndrome; adulthood; cerebral palsy; fragile X syndrome; intellectual disability; life expectancy; mental retardation; morbidity; mortality; phenylketonuria; tuberous sclerosis complex

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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