History: How was the disease discovered?
History: Down Syndrome
Down Syndrome came from an Indian tribe who attributed them a demi-god status many 100’s of years ago. In the mid-1900s people realised that Down syndrome children could thrive and prosper in the greater community. Down syndrome was found and described by John Langdon Down in 1866. Later on in 1959 a French doctor named Jerome Leujeune discovered that Down syndrome was caused by the inheritance of an extra chromosome 21. In 1866 Down syndrome was linked with decreased intellectual ability and was grouped as one syndrome. The facial features of people with Down syndrome were similar to that of Mongolian people and that is why John Langdon Down used the term ‘mongoloid’ to refer to a person with Down syndrome. In 1959 the French physician, Jerome Leujeune discovered that down syndrome was a chromosomal abnormality. He researched and found that cells of people with down syndrome had 47 chromosomes. That is one extra chromosome than the normal 46. It was later discovered that in chromosome 21 there was an extra part or complete chromosome and that is why it is called Trisomy 21. In 1961 geneticists from around the world changed the condition from trisomy 21 to Down syndrome. As of today in the United States, Canada and most other countries this condition is known as Down syndrome where in the United Kingdom it is referred to as Down’s Syndrome. By the 20th century, Down syndrome became the most recognisable mental disability. Individuals with Down syndrome had their associated medical problems treated, some were institutionalised and most had died early. The cause of Down syndrome remained unknown until the middle of the 20th century.