Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21. This additional genetic material alters the course of development and causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. A few of the common physical traits of Down syndrome are: low muscle tone, small stature, an upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm.
Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition. One in every 691 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome – about 6,000 each year. There are approximately 400,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States. The incidence of births of children with Down syndrome increases with the age of the mother. But due to higher fertility rates in younger women, 80% of children with Down syndrome are born to women under 35 years of age.
There is no cure for this syndrome. Yet symptoms can be treated and controlled. A new study from Stanford Down Syndrome Research Center affiliated faculty Dr. Ahmad Salehi describes a novel therapeutic strategy for intellectual disability in Down syndrome. Dr. Salehi and colleagues improved learning and memory in a mouse model of Down syndrome with injections of a long-acting ß2 adrenergic receptor agonist.