Understanding down syndrome

36 understanding down syndrome 1


Understanding down syndrome

by Juanita Igandu


Down syndrome is a disorder to do with genetic material being paired differently. Often during fertilisation, 23 pairs of chromosomes are needed for healthy formation. In Down syndrome however there is an addition of an extra chromosome on the 21st chromosome during cell division. There can be two forms of Down syndrome; one is where there is an extra chromosome in each cell, thereby having 47 instead of 46 chromosomes. This form is known as Trisonomy 21. The other form is known as non- disjunction where at conception the egg is left with an extra pair of chromosome 21.

The trait of 

People with this disorder is flat nasal bridge, protruding tongue, noticeable gap between the big toe and the second toe, low muscle tone, slanted eyes, a single deep crease at the centre of the palm and stunted growth. Chromosome 21 is associated with intelligence or cognitive abilities and individuals present cognitive challenges or supreme cognitive abilities related to genius.

Individuals with this disorder have an increased risk of childhood epilepsy, leukaemia, heart disease, old age Alzheimer’s, diabetes and cancer. New studies have emerged with scientists finding a way of silencing this disorder. Since it is often associated with genetics, couples who are susceptible to it may be taken for screening to reduce the ability of the extra pair of chromosome from attaching to other normal chromosomes during cell division.

This new study is however controversial especially among religious and ethical advocates who say that science should not interfere with nature. They say that each life whether healthy or not has the right to an equal chance of survival for that was natures/ Gods plan. They also bend towards the notion that there is mild and severe Down syndrome and those with the disorder with proper nutrition and medical care live normal lives. They refuse to allow science to propagate a ‘perfect’ generation where each individual is strong and with little or few disabilities. They also warn that this practice would allow individuals to look down upon individuals with disabilities. Scientists on the other hand justify their studies saying that they are not advocating for a ‘perfect’ species but rather trying to increase the chance of an individual to lead a normal life. They say that Down syndrome in sever instances creates a lot of disabilities for children. They also say that in extreme cases of the disease results in hearing disorders, heart problems, physical disabilities as well as cognitive disorders.

What is your take on the disorder, if given a chance to live a healthy life would you choose this path for yourself or child? Is it unethical to go against nature?

Article source: https://www.zakenya.com/Health-and-Fitness/36-Understanding-down-syndrome.html

About the Author

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Emerging from the athletic heartland of Rift Valley, Eka Kaoo was destined to have a relationship with sports. However, instead of lacing up running shoes, Eka picked up a pen, weaving narratives around the athletes who brought pride to Kenya.

Growing up, Eka was deeply inspired by the marathoners and middle-distance runners from his region, often finding himself amidst training camps and local races, absorbing stories of dedication, sweat, and sheer willpower.

Eka pursued his passion academically at a renowned university in Kenya, specializing in Sports Journalism. This formal education, combined with his intrinsic understanding of the Kenyan sporting ethos, allowed him to produce articles that resonated deeply with readers. His pieces, rich with local anecdotes and broad insights, began to get attention both within the university and in the national press.

Upon graduation, Eka became a sought-after name in sports journalism. His writings, spanning across various sports but with a soft corner for track and field, offered a fresh perspective, blending personal athlete stories with technical analyses.

Eka Kaoo's articles soon began appearing in international sports magazines and journals, elevating him to the status of an ambassador for Kenyan sports on the global stage. He covered major events like the Olympics and the World Championships, consistently providing readers with unique, Kenya-centric viewpoints.

Beyond his journalistic endeavors, Eka has been instrumental in organizing grassroots sports events in Kenya, aiming to unearth hidden talents and provide them with a platform to shine.

Today, as one of the leading voices in sports journalism in Africa, Eka Kaoo continues to champion the stories of athletes, always reminding the world of the heart, soul, and spirit of Kenyan sports.

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