Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day 2: Down Syndrome 101

For starters, here are some basic facts about Down syndrome.
  • Down syndrome occurs in one in approximately 700 live births. 
  • It is the most frequently occurring genetic condition that causes delays in physical and intellectual development. 
  • People with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. The medical term for DS is Trisomy 21 because it results in a 3rd copy of the 21st chromosome (see a karotype below).
  • Down syndrome is caused by an error in cell division called nondisjunction. We know it occurs at conception, but don't know why it happens. 
  • The incidence of Down syndrome increases with advancing maternal age -- this was my case since I gave birth at age 39 -- however, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35.
  • Down syndrome is named after Dr. John Langdon Down, the physician who first described characteristics associated with DS in 1866.
  • There are more than 400,000 people with Down syndrome living in the US.
  • Early intervention, supportive therapies, an enriching home environment, quality health care, and positive support from family, friends and the community help people with Down syndrome achieve their maximum potential and lead happy, fulfilling lives.
Today, many adults with Down syndrome are integrated in their communities and contributing to society by working, attending college, volunteering, getting married and pursuing their lives dreams. With our collective love, support, and encouragement, Lucas will be one of them!

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