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What is Down’s Syndrome?

Down’s syndrome is the most common cause of development disability. It is a condition in which extra genetic material causes delays the child’s development. There are over 2,000,000 people with Down’s syndrome worldwide.

Normally, a baby inherits genetic information from its parents in the form of 46 chromosomes: 23 from each parent. In most cases of Down syndrome, however, the child gets an extra chromosome - for a total of 47 chromosomes instead of 46.

Some children have mosaic Down’s syndrome (or mosaicism). In these cases, not all cells have the extra chromosome, which results in the child being less severely affected.

Why is it called Down’s Syndrome?


British doctor John Langdon Down was the first to describe this condition in 1887. Therefore, this condition is commonly referred to as Down’s Syndrome.

What causes Down’s Syndrome?

The reasons for occurrence of Down’s Syndrome are not known. Also, there is no way to prevent the chromosomal error that causes this condition.

However, the probability of occurrence of the condition increases sharply with the mother’s age. At age 30, the risk of conceiving a child with Down’s Syndrome is 1 in 1000. This increases to 1 in 400 at age 35 and 1 in 60 at age 40.

Is there a cure for Down’s Syndrome?


Down’s syndrome is not a disease and there is no ‘cure’ it. Often, the ignorance and desperation of parents leads them to believe unreal claims of purported ‘treatments’. There is no scientific basis for any of these treatments.

Instead of falling prey to these ‘treatments’, parents are advised to follow their medical practitioner’s advise in terms of early intervention and other therapies that may address the specific medical issues posed by the condition.

Can Down’s Syndrome be detected before birth?

There are screening and diagnostic tests to detect Down’s Syndrome in a fetus.

Screening tests are non-invasive and painless but not definitive.

Diagnostic tests are about 99% accurate in determining Down’s syndrome and other chromosomal anomalies. However, these tests are associated with a risk of miscarriage and other complications. Consequently, these tests are recommended only for women of age 35 or more, or those with a family history of genetic defects.

Note: This information is intended for awareness purpose only. Kindly consult your doctor for advice in this regard.

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