Causes of Down Syndrome

The causes of down syndrome point toward abnormal cell division during fetal development. It is believed that this abnormal division of cells begins either in the woman's egg prior to, or at the time of conception itself. The error rarely lies in the sperm at conception. The reason for this abnormal division of cells is yet a mystery.

It is common knowledge that genes grouped together make up the chromosomes. In normal circumstances, a child will inherit 46 chromosomes, 23 from the mother and 23 from the father. In the case of down syndrome, abnormal cell division results in extra genetic material usually in the form of an extra chromosome. The type and the nature of down syndrome are dependent on how many of the cells receive the extra genetic material. Down syndrome could sometimes be passed down generations (inherited) as in the case of translocation-type down syndrome.

Frequently asked questions
  1. Melissa A. Davidson, Primary Care for Children and Adolescents with Down Syndrome, Pediatric Clinics of North America, Volume 55, Issue 5, October 2008, Pages 1099-1111, ISSN 0031-3955, 10.1016/j.pcl.2008.07.001.
  2. Iris Teresa Schapira, Alejandra María Ferrari, Norma Aspres, Ana Belén Guardiol, Ana Inés Antoniutti, Roxana Bedacarratz, Down Syndrome: An Assessment of Infant Psychomotor Development and Its Impact on Social and Familial Integration, International Medical Review on Down Syndrome, Volume 11, Issue 1, March 2007, Pages 2-8, ISSN 2171-9748, 10.1016/S2171-9748(07)70043-0.
  3. D.J. Fidler, Down Syndrome, In: Editors-in-Chief:  Marshall M. Haith and Janette B. Benson, Editor(s)-in-Chief, Encyclopedia of Infant and Early Childhood Development, Academic Press, San Diego, 2008, Pages 422-429, ISBN 9780123708779, 10.1016/B978-012370877-9.00053-0