Not everyone sold on ‘cure’ for Down syndrome

One of the most challenging health issues for parents that kids can have is Down syndrome. The diagnosis can be difficult for people to accept, even though people with Down syndrome can lead fulfilling lives. There has been much research into the genetic factors that cause Down syndrome, with scientists hoping to figure out how to prevent, cure, or otherwise limit the condition going forward.

Doctors announced recently that they have discovered a way to reroute a so-called chromosome off switch that can neutralize the extra chromosome that people with Down syndrome have. The discovery was made purely in a laboratory setting and hasn’t been tried on people yet, so its potential effectiveness will remain to be seen for some time. However, it is a considerable advancement.

Not everyone is convinced that the ability to do this would be a good idea. Medical ethicists say that people with Down syndrome contribute a unique culture and viewpoint to society — something that could be lost if fewer people have the condition. Researchers, however, say that the focus wouldn’t be on stamping out the disorder but rather improving the quality of life for the people who have it already.

People in Oregon who have Down syndrome might be eligible to receive benefits under Social Security disability insurance. The requirements can be somewhat confusing, so it might be best for people with Down syndrome and their families to work with an experienced Social Security disability attorney to learn what they need to do.

Source: Deseret News, “Scientists find it is possible to ‘silence’ chromosome that causes Down syndrome,” Chelynne Renouard, Aug. 12, 2013

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