(Left to right) Shweta Ranka and Surekha Ramachandran, founder Down Syndrome Federation of India, at hotel Deccan Rendezvous on Tuesday.(HT PHOTO)
(Left to right) Shweta Ranka and Surekha Ramachandran, founder Down Syndrome Federation of India, at hotel Deccan Rendezvous on Tuesday.(HT PHOTO)

Stress in couples during conception could be a likely cause of Down syndrome, says researcher in Pune

 Surekha Ramachandran, founder of Down Syndrome Federation of India, was in the city on Tuesday to announce the second international down syndrome conference which would be held in the city from May 31 to June 2 at The Corinthians Club.
By Jui Dharwadkar | Hindustan Times, Pune, Pune
UPDATED ON MAY 30, 2018 04:26 PM IST

Down syndrome, which arises from a chromosome defect, is likely to have a direct link with the increase in stress levels seen in couples during the time of conception, say Surekha Ramachandran, founder of Down Syndrome Federation of India, who has been studying about the same ever since her daughter was diagnosed with the syndrome, 37 years ago. The federation was established by her to get specialists, parents and doctors under a single roof which could provide the needed guidance and support.  

 Ramachandran was in the city on Tuesday to announce the second international down syndrome conference which would be held in the city from May 31 to June 2 at The Corinthians Club.

The event will bring together all stakeholders like educators, healthcare professionals and parents to spread awareness about the condition. 

“We are presently studying whether stress can be directly linked to the down syndrome. Our observations do seem to suggest that stress is a factor which can play a significant role and we are collecting evidence to prove it. The present statistics show that 1 in 750 children are diagnosed with this condition and 90 per cent of these children are the second child born to the parents,” said Ramachandran.  

She said that children with Down syndrome should be screened mainly for heart, vision, hearing or stomach-related issues and the diagnosis and screening should be done at an early stage.

“If parents and doctors can ensure early diagnosis and intervention then these children with Down syndrome can lead a close to normal lives, attend school, marry and even to take up jobs. Ramachandran said that many such success stories would be seen during the conference. 

Speaking about the syndrome, doctors have said that down syndrome is one of the most common genetic birth disorders which is associated with mild to moderate learning disabilities, developmental delays, characteristic facial features and low muscle tone in early infancy. Through a series of screenings and tests, Down syndrome can be detected.

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