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Saturday, July 20, 2024

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Son Inspires Down Syndrome Research Center at Stanford

By Jack Fichter

His favorite thing in this world? His brother Andrew, said his mother.
Woman can undergo amniocenteses to determine if their unborn child has Down syndrome or handicap.
“I would only encourage those who find out that they have a child with Down syndrome to talk to parents who have children with Down syndrome and ask them if it has been a strain on their lives,” said Roger. “I think you would find the answer would be nine times out of 10, it has been something that has really been tremendously beneficial to the family, not something that has been detrimental.”
People with the disorder are living longer lives than in the past, due in part to screening for a heart defect. Kafker said about half of babies born with the syndrome have a hole in their heart that needs to be operated on immediately.
That problem is now screened at birth. He said in past years, persons with Down syndrome were institutionalized in their teen years but now are in the workplace and integrated into society.
“Because there has been a view that you couldn’t change this genetic disorder, there’s been fairly little research done by National Institutes of Health or government funding,” said Kafker.
The goal of the Center for Research and Treatment of Down syndrome is to find a way to make the transfer of information in the brain similar to a normal functioning adult.
“Are there chemical issues and are there ways of teaching these people that are more effective…?” asked Kafker.
“Both drug therapy and vitamins and natural substances that will be helpful to persons with Down syndrome are being investigated,” he said.  
Information on Down syndrome is available at: www.ndsccenter.org.
School children around the country have been selling toy mice to raise money for research.
The foundation’s Web site is http://drsresearch.stanford.edu.
Contact Fichter at: jfichter@cmcherald.com

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