This blog was inspired by 31 for 21 & is about my wonderful family.

"As a mother, my job is to take care of what is possible & trust God with the impossible." ~Ruth Bell Graham

"Never look down on someone, unless you're helping them up!"

Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 20

    Today's entry will be a little history lesson.  :)

     Down syndrome is named after John Langdon Down.  In   1866, he published an essay in England in which he described a set of children with common features who were distinct from other children with mental retardation. Down was the superintendent of an asylum for children with mental retardation in Surrey, England when he made the first distinction between children (later to be found to have hypothyroidism) and what he referred to as "Mongoloids."

Down based this unfortunate name on his notion that these children looked like people from Mongolia, who were thought then to have an arrested development.  This ethnic insult came under fire in the early 1960s from Asian genetic researchers, and the term was dropped from scientific use.  Instead, the condition became called "Down's syndrome."  In the 1970s, an American revision of scientific terms changed it simply to "Down syndrome," while it still is called "Down's syndrome" in the UK and some places in Europe.  Ironically, Down's grandson (who was born 9 years after his death) had Down syndrome.  

In the first part of the twentieth century, there was much speculation of the cause of Down syndrome. The first people to speculate that it might be due to chromosomal abnormalities were Waardenburg and Bleyer in the 1930s. But it wasn't until 1959 that Jerome Lejeune and Patricia Jacobs, working independently, first determined the cause to be trisomy (triplication) of the 21st chromosome. Cases of Down syndrome due to translocation and mosaicism (see definitions of these below) were described over the next three years.


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