Down Syndrome (Trisomy 21)

Biology

What is it?

Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder that is caused by error in cell division known as nondisjunction. It causes intellectual disability, development delays, and health problems. I chose to do this disease because people need to be more aware of this disorder. It occurs in 1 in every 691 births. It is the most common single cause of birth defects in America. People with Down Syndrome, or Trisomy 21, have 47 chromosomes instead of 46. Down Syndrome generally affects the brain. People with down syndrome take more time to grow and develop.

What is the Cause?

Research shows that error in cell division causes Down Syndrome. About 95% of the time, it is caused by Trisomy 21. The child has 3 copies of chromosome 21 instead of 2. It is a chromosomal mutation because it has an extra chromosome 21. Down Syndrome is not caused by environmental or behavioral factors. Many people think Down Syndrome is inherited so if their family does not have it, their child won't either. However, that is not the case. Down Syndrome is not passed down from your parents. Anyone's child can have it. It does not matter what race or nationality you are. This disease is caused by an error in cell division during the development of the egg and sperm.

What are the Symptoms?

There are many symptoms of Down Syndrome. People with this genetic disorder have flat facial features, small head and ears, short neck, and poor muscle tone. The child can also have behavior issues and slow learning abilities. People with Down Syndrome take more time to grow and develop. Down Syndrome can also cause many health problems such as leukemia, hearing loss, sleep apnea, memory problems, obesity and much more. A recent study has shown that people with Down Syndrome can live past the age of 50.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

It can be only know if an infant has Down Syndrome or not after birth. During pregnancy, there are no signs that can tell whether the child has this disease or not. You can only be sure whether or not the child has this disorder after birth. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for Down Syndrome either. However, physical and mental care is very important for one with this disease. Physical and mental therapy is definitely an option and it helps a lot. However, you cannot cure one with Down Syndrome.
DEAR FUTURE MOM | March 21 - World Down Syndrome Day | #DearFutureMom
On Down -- Down Syndrome

What I learned

This research project increased my knowledge on Down Syndrome. I did not know that Down Syndrome isn't inherited. There is nothing the mother or father does that causes this genetic disorder. It is a mutation. It is the most common chromosomal condition. Every person with Down Syndrome is different. Some are more challenged while others are not. It is not curable. Although, physical and speech therapy can help improve skills. With this treatment, a person with Down Syndrome can live a long, healthy life.