Before discovery of Down syndrome, human society in the past used to put Down syndrome victims together with those individuals exhibiting intellectual disabilities and those suffering from diverse kinds of mental illnesses. …
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This scenario continued until mid 1860s when European physician by the name John Langdon Down identified the medical disorder (Evans-Martin, 2009). Afterwards, Down syndrome was named after this physician in 1866, and since then, every effort has been made to study the medical condition, with greater aim of identifying its causes and likely treatment (Evans-Martin, 2009).
At the same time, since the discover of the disorder by John Langdon Down, focus has been directed at categorizing individuals with Down syndrome differently from other individuals who may exhibit mental illness like depression. Since it was discovered, many theories have been developed concerning how Down syndrome emerges. One influential theory that has been accepted and researched by many authors in the field postulates that, Down syndrome results from maternal age (Evans-Martin, 2009). In other words, women with advanced age have been found to give birth to children who exhibit more characteristics of Down syndrome as compared to women who are relatively younger in age. Therefore, the essence of this research paper will be to look at Down syndrome in terms of epidemiology, diagnosis, treatment, and the impact it has on victims and their parents or families. What is Down syndrome? Down syndrome is a medical condition said to affect one (1) person born in every 770 births (Margulies, 2006). In USA alone, it has been estimated that Down syndrome is exhibited in about 4000 births every year and on average, estimates indicate that about 350,000 people in USA have Down syndrome (Brill, 2006). The medical condition may be seen to be ineligible, but many incidences of the disease have been reported in different countries across the world, and victims tend to exhibit abnormal physical and mental characteristics as compared to their counterparts perceived to be normal. Down syndrome can therefore be described as a chromosomal disorder that comes as a result of an error in the copying of genetic material when it is passed from parents to offspring (Brill, 2006). This scenario can be understood through the following observation; in most instances, thousands of genes take part in encoding the human body’s instructions for physical and mental development, and they are contained in forty-six chromosomes (Brill, 2006). These chromosomes are initially found in the nucleus of every cell in human bodies. When a genetic error occurs, individuals with Down syndrome have an extra copy of one of these chromosomes in many or all of their body cells. Down syndrome (DS) is perceived to be a condition that ends up changing or affecting the physical and mental development of a child. In other words, Down syndrome can be said to have ability to impair both cognitive and mental abilities of the child, as well as the physical growth. The impact of the disorder may in most cases range from mild to moderate developmental disabilities and problems (Brill, 2006). Some of the physical changes or impairments likely to be observed include, a child having short fingers, eyes that are largely slanted, palms that are deeply creased, and also other related diverse traits (Brill, 2006). At the same time, Down syndrome has been identified to be the leading cause of mental retardation among individuals, where individuals experience difficult in
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