Down's syndrome is a genetic disorder caused by triplication of chromosome 21 during fetal development. The condition can lead to some degree of mental retardation, heart defects and retarded growth.
Down's syndrome children have an easily recognisable characteristic appearance. Their faces are usually flat with under developed features, a thickened tongue and prominent epicanthic folds of skin (a fold of skin from the bridge of the nose to the eyebrows).
Down's syndrome children are more susceptible to varying heart diseases, infections, Leukemia's and cancers. There is no cure for this condition and few sufferers reach middle age. Babies born to older mothers are at greater risk of developing this genetic abnormality due to problems with the division of the older fertilised eggs. More information can be obtained from the Down's Syndrome Association, 155 Mitchem Road, London, SW17 9PG.
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