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Down syndrome: scientific advances could prevent disability

It's been quite some time since we last wrote about Down syndrome. As we discussed in our December 12 post last year, adults whose disability due to this syndrome began before a certain age may be eligible for Social Security disability income (SSDI).

More specifically, if a person' disability caused by Down syndrome began before age 22, he or she could be eligible for SSDI. A parent's Social Security earnings record is required, however, because the Social Security Administration (SSA) considers this to be what the SSA calls a "child benefit."

In this post, let's look at an encouraging scientific development concerning Down syndrome. Last month, researchers announced they had found a way to potentially neutralize the genetic defect that causes Down syndrome.

The announcement was made by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. They identified a chromosome that occurs naturally in the body and may be able to somehow switch off or neutralize the extra chromosome that causes Down syndrome.

As is so often the case with academic research, the researchers say that more research is needed to confirm and build upon the findings. So far, researchers have only been able to neutralize or reroute the extra chromosome in a laboratory dish.

Still, the identification of this potential neutralizer that could keep Down syndrome at bay is encouraging. After all, Down syndrome is a serious genetic disorder that greatly impacts people's lives. It is well known for resulting in significant cognitive impairments in people who have it. And it is also associated with increased risk of heart defects, respiratory problems and other challenging medical conditions.

Source: Desert News, "Scientists find it possible to 'silence' chromsome that causes Down syndrome," Chelynne Renouard, August 12, 2013

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