Down Syndrome 2


Down Syndrome 2 Essay, Research Paper

Down syndrome is one of the most frequently occurring

birth defects in the world. It is a chromosomal abnormality

which results in 47 chromosomes, instead of 46, with an extra

chromosome being 21. Because the majority of Down syndrome

cases affect the twenty-first chromosome, it is commonly called

“trisomy 21.”

Down syndrome is usually caused by a cell division error,

which is known as non-disjunction. This occurs when an embryo

develops with three number 21 chromosomes instead of two. This

excess genetic material alters the course of development and

causes the characteristics of this syndrome. The cause of this

faulty cell division is still unknown, although there seems to

be some relatedness to maternal age. There are two other types

of Down syndrome, mosaicism and translocation, but these do not

affect individuals as frequently as non-disjunction.

Mosaicism is a mixture of two cell types, leaving the

individual with some normal chromosomes of 46, and some

affected ones with 47. Translocation occurs when part of the

twenty-first chromosome breaks off and attaches to another

cell. The total number of chromosomes is 46, however the

excess material from the twenty-first chromosome results in the

affects of the syndrome. With translocation, most cases occur

sporadically, with no bearing on maternal age. These two types

of this syndrome are very rare, being responsible for only 6 or

7 percent of all cases.

Children with Down syndrome are at high risk for health

problems. These include congenital heart defects, respiratory

problems, increased suseptibility to infections, and/or

obstructed digestive tracts. Leukemia has a greater frequency

of appearance among children with Down syndrome, and adults are

at an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Advances in

medicine have helped these individuals with their health

problems, and generally people with Down syndrome have a life

expectancy of 55 years.

The mental development of people with Down syndrome is

challenged through some degree of mental retardation. Typically,

the level of mental retardation falls into the mild to moderate

range, but some cause can range severely. However, people with

Down syndrome possess a multitude of individual strengths and

talents. For this reason, a child should have as many services

accessible to them throughout their entire development. Early

intervention services, stimulating home environments, and good

medical care are of the utmost importance for a child with Down

syndrome, and will help a child develop to his/her full potential.

Individuals with Down syndrome are becoming increasingly

involved with society and community organizations, and more

people will interact with these individuals. Therefore, there

is an increasing need for education and acceptance of people

with this syndrome.

Works Cited

Unknown author. “Down Syndrome. Public Health Education

Information Sheet.” [Online]



March 25,1993.

Unknown author. “Down Syndrome.” [Online]

Available tmm2/


Unknown author. “Down Syndrome:For New Parents.” [Online]

Available http://

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