Understanding Down Syndrome Essay

Understanding Down Syndrome Essay

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Understanding the Disease Down syndrome

When an error occurs at chromosome 21 within in the genetic make of a human being, the person obtains distinct features such as slanted eyes, deeply creased hands, and a protruding tongue. At first glance this person may appear to be affected with some type of deformation, but they are often one out of the 4,000 people that are diagnosed with the disease Down syndrome.
Down syndrome or DS is a chromosomal abnormality that frequently affects humans. Because the disease is genetic one can assume that it has been affecting the human body for years. The first signs of Down syndrome where depicted in European paintings as early as the 15th century.
Before the disease was indentified, many of those that were affected with the disease where often misdiagnosed with mental illnesses and learning disabilities. It wasn’t until 1862 when John Langdon Down actually characterized the illness as a mental disability.
Langdon discovered that those affected with Down syndrome had large epithelia folds which caused them to look similar to those that belonged to the Mongolian race. Due to this resemblance he labeled them “mongloids”, which caused a racial uproar until the 1970’s.
By the turn of the 20th century the disease had become a recognizable form of disability, but people still were very uneducated its origin, or even how to treat the disease. In 1950 new ways to produce karatotypes were discovered .In 1959 Jerome Lejeune took this new wave of technology and discovered that Down Syndrome was caused my the formation of extra chromosomes.

Causes: Extra Chromosome 21
The human body is made up of small cells that are always duplicating and replenishing, which are known as chromosome...

... middle of paper ...

...res for this disease. Even though there is no cure doctors have found ways in which they can control the symptoms and medical conditions that are associated with the disease thorough out the affected person stages of life. The types of treatment offered for those with DS range from getting regular checkups to guidance counseling.

People affected with Down syndrome often contract other various life threathing diseases such as heart disease, bone and muscle problems, leukemia, mental retardation, gastrointestinal diseases and Alzhmiers disease. About 30% - 50% of the individuals with Down syndrome have heart defects and 8% - 12% have gastrointestinal tract abnormalities present at birth. Most of these defects are now correctable by surgery. (Ress 2000)

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