World Down Syndrome Day (March 21st)
Having an extra pair of shoes, socks or clothes is great. It delivers the clear message that you are a cautious person who has a backup plan when things fail. But when our body does the same to us it puts us in jeopardy. Being extra cautious too is troublesome at times when all that we need is the right mix of elements. For instance, an extra finger or toe erupting out of our hands and legs might seem trivial but at times their placement and bone structure can pave way for serious consequences. Think about our fate when our genetic carriers-chromosomes are duplicated? These carriers of genes are the building blocks of our traits, characteristics and attributes right from eye color to height. But, having a partial or full extra copy of a chromosome is what Down’s syndrome is all about.
Human body is made of millions of cells and each of them have a nucleus inside which genetic materials are stored in the form of genes. Genes are responsible for our traits. They are present in chromosomes-a DNA molecule that contain part or all of the genetic material of an organism. Every cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes. Half of them are inherited from each parent. Down syndrome is the result of a replication of a full or partial copy of chromosome 21.
Basically, Down syndrome is the result of the presence of a third copy of chromosome-21. In general, people have 46 chromosomes in all of their cells but in people with Down syndrome there are 47 chromosomes owing to which there is a startling difference in the way they look, behave and think. While we know how it happens, we have no idea on why it happens. This condition occurs at conception and mind you, it’s the fault of no one. It’s got no cure, nor does it disappear or diminish in intensity as the child grows. Despite such consequences there is a chance that one of every 700-900 babies born will be affected by Down syndrome. Nowadays, physicians go for a test to detect Down syndrome in the fetus even before the baby is born during the first trimester of pregnancy (between 9 and 12 weeks).
The condition is genetic but only 1% of cases of Down syndrome has a hereditary component. Genetic diseases have no cure but only certain means to control their intensity. Get an insight into the popular genetic diseases and their effect on humans by visiting www.firsteatright.com. Intellectual disability is the major problem of Down syndrome and every person with this condition suffers from it to a certain extent. But realize that individuals with Down syndrome are not abnormal and they are not fundamentally different from the rest of us. Its only that they need to try harder, strive more and need certain levels of support to accomplish things in life that most of us assume to come with the package called ‘life’. While earlier, individuals with the condition felt isolated, sent to different schools and segregated from the community the younger people growing up with Down syndrome are able to lead as much normal a life as possible.
Interesting yet Intriguing
There has been no insight into the causes behind this condition but maternal age has been associated with an increased chance of having a baby with Down syndrome. With this on one side, we have got statistics that 80% babies with Down syndrome are born to women under the age of 35 due to higher birth rates in younger women. While a 35-year-old woman has about 1 in 350 chance of conceiving a child with Down syndrome the numbers increase to 1 in 100 by age of 40. Neither are there any facts or documents supporting the fact that Down syndrome is caused by environmental factors, parents’ health or other such reasons. The extra chromosome might be from the mom or the dad.
In the year 2000 a team of scientists were able to identify and catalogue each of the 329 genes on chromosome 21. This discovery has led mankind into greater advances in Down syndrome research.
World Down Syndrome Day
World Down Syndrome Day is celebrated on March 21st every year since 2012 as declared by the United Nations. If you are relating the day to chromosome 21 then you have found the link and congrats to your quick logical thinking. Indeed, March 21st was chosen as it is the 21st day of the 3rd month signifying triplication of the 21st chromosome which is the actual reason for Down syndrome.
People with Down syndrome across the world participate in events and activities to spread awareness about the condition, improve their well-being and make the society realize that they are also normal people with normal interests in life. This year’s theme ‘Leave no one behind’ suits the requirement and ideologies of the World Down Syndrome Day just right. Join together in spreading awareness and bring light onto their lives.
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