Font Size
A
A
A
1
...

Down Syndrome

Down Syndrome Overview

Patient Comments

The earliest known depiction of a person with Down syndrome is an angel in a Flemish painting dated 1515. In 1866, Doctor John Langdon Down first described Down syndrome as a disorder, but he misunderstood how Down syndrome arises. The cause of Down syndrome was discovered rather recently in 1959.

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder and the most common cause of cognitive impairment. All individuals with Down syndrome have mild to moderate learning disabilities, distinctive facial features, and low muscle tone (hypotonia) in early infancy. Down syndrome is also often associated with heart defects,leukemia, and early-onset Alzheimer's disease. The degree to which an individual is affected by these characteristics varies from mild to severe.

Due to recent advances in medical care and social inclusion, life expectancy has increased dramatically for individuals with Down syndrome. A majority of infants with Down syndrome survive 1 year, and half of people with Down syndrome live longer than 50 years. The average life span is greater than 55 years.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/18/2014
Medical Author:

Must Read Articles Related to Down Syndrome

Alzheimer's Disease in Individuals With Down Syndrome
Alzheimer's Disease in Down Syndrome Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia (see Dementia Overview for more information). The disease is progressive, and the brain degenerates...learn more >>
Cognitive Deficits
Cognitive Deficits Cognitive deficits (intellectual disability) begin in childhood and cause impaired ability to learn and function. Impairment level is categorized as mild, moder...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Down Syndrome:

Down Syndrome - Experience

Please describe your experience with Down syndrome.

Down Syndrome - Symptoms

What were the symptoms of your Down syndrome?

Down Syndrome - Treatment

What was the treatment for your Down syndrome?



NIH talks about Ebola on WebMD

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Down Syndrome »

In 1866, Down described clinical characteristics of the syndrome that now bears his name.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary