The following information was shared with us by Julia Toronczak with Beyond the Waves and does not necessarily represent the views of ENABLE Special Needs Planning.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE DOWN SYNDROME TO BE INCLUDED IN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH?
Just in the 1980’s, the average life expectancy for an individual who has Down Syndrome was around 25. Advances in research have helped alleviate symptoms of congenital heart disease, along with other diseases that are co-morbid with DS. Nowadays, these individuals can live more fulfilling lives and have a life expectancy around the age of 60.
Did you know that individuals who have Down Syndrome are protected from coronary artery disease, hypertension, and most solid tumors, including breast, colon, and skin cancers? Interestingly enough, scientists have discovered that individuals who have leukemia but do not have Down Syndrome end up having a part of the 21st chromosome amplified, which may carry a “leukemia oncogene.”
Joaquin Espinosa, who runs the Espinosa research lab at the University of Colorado Denver, specializes in Down Syndrome and cancer research. His team is currently finding ways to alleviate co-morbidities found with Down Syndrome. He also passionately writes about the importance of including persons who have Down Syndrome into scientific research, as funding for Down Syndrome research is considerably lower than for other conditions.