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"Down Syndrome" Awareness Month

Today I'd like to honor all the children and their families that are experiencing "Down Syndrome". My heart goes out to all of you.

So let's take today to shed some light on this devastating disease. And maybe discover a way to prevent it.

As we know "Down syndrome" is a genetic disorder caused when "abnormal cell division" resulting in an "extra full" or "partial copy" of "chromosome 21. This extra genetic material causes the developmental changes and physical features of "Down syndrome".

Each year, about 6,000 babies are born with "Down syndrome" in the United States. That's an estimated 1 out of every 700 babies will be born to have this condition. And according to the World Health Organization . . . an estimated 1 in 1,100 will be inflicted worldwide.

Okay . . . so let's take a moment to understand. Typically, a baby is born with 23 pairs of chromosomes. Where as babies with "Down syndrome" have an extra copy of one of these chromosomes, And that would be chromosome 21.

So you ask . . . what exactly are these "chromosomes" you speak of????

Well . . . a "chromosome" is a thread-like structure located inside the nucleus of animal or plant cells. Each "chromosome" is made of "protein" and a" single molecule of deoxyribonucleic acid" (DNA).

Now, this was interesting to me because with the cancer I was diagnosed with 11 years ago . . . my cancer had a direct cause of "chromosome 13".

In my case, it was the direct result of an acquired change to the DNA of "chromosome 13" and this change was a "mutation". When I was first tested, it was with a method called "fluorescence in situ hybridization" (FISH), and it was found I had "Del 13q" which was "deletions" on the long arm of chromosome 13.

So with the similarities . . . I decided to see is there was a connection. And guess what? . . .

Brain abnormalities of Down syndrome are associated with chromosome 21 "deletions"!!!!