Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Mixed Feelings

Mommy was forwarded this article and she has mixed feelings about it. So she would love to hear your opinion. Also, she's not sure of the source of the article so when she hears back from the person that sent it to her, she'll be sure to add that in....


In-Womb Treatment For Down’s Syndrome

Posted on: Monday, 1 December 2008, 12:50 CST

Scientists are hoping to develop a treatment for mothers who are aware their unborn child has Down’s syndrome.

In a study with mice, scientists used gave nerve-protecting chemicals to unborn mice who had a syndrome similar to Down’s. They found that some of the noticeable developmental problems were removed among those who received the chemicals.

These mice were engineered to have an extra copy of a segment of chromosome 16, because children with Down’s suffer from having an extra copy of chromosome 21. These so-called "trisomic" individuals may also have learning difficulties and symptoms of Alzheimer's later in life.

Other studies have shown similarities between people with Down’s and trisomic mice revealed malfunctions in glial cells - brain cells that regulate the development of neurons by releasing certain proteins.

Researcher Catherine Spong and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland sought to determine if the addition of segments of proteins known as NAP and SAL to mice pups would protect the neurons as to prevent developmental delays.

"We were able to prevent a significant amount of the delay," Spong said.

Researchers noted normal levels of ADNP, which is a regulatory protein that is often underproduced in children with Down’s.

Now Spong is watching to see if mice treated as fetuses also display less of a learning deficit as they mature. She hopes that the prenatal treatment might permanently increase the expression of the proteins in question.

Spong hopes her team’s new findings will translate into a workable treatment for humans affected by Down’s.

"I'd love to see these early screening tests lead to therapy and not just termination," said Charles Cantor of Sequenom in San Diego, California, which is developing a non-invasive prenatal blood-screening test for Down's. "It would have a big impact, especially for families that are not willing to consider abortion as an option."

4 comments:

Aaron and Amy said...

I definitely understand the "mixed feelings!" We love our little ones just the way they are, and I even believe that God may create them the way they are for His purpose! But, at the same time, if this "therapy" could save some babies from termination . . . or if it could help with some of the physical symptoms like heart defects, or even help with cognitive development so kids would be better able to reach their full potential . . . it may be worth it. We'll have to wait and see what the risks/side-effects are first, though! I join you in the "mixed feelings" category!

Meril said...

Article language aside, these are hard things to contemplate. What makes a person who they are is so complicated and messy..... Who's to say what's perfect and what's not? Personally, I happen to think that my son is perfect in every way. But once I step outside my front door, I am painfully aware that not many others share that opinion.
Big Stuff.....

Gretchen said...

Okay, here's what I think: I love Cooper exactly as he is. That said, I would do anything to make his life easier. Right now, he's only had a few years to get behind, but I know that gap will continue to widen. If I had the ability to narrow that gap, I definitely would. That said, what bothers me about this article is the last little bit, where the guy talks about how this treatment would be particularly beneficial for "those families who are not willing to consider abortion as an option." HELLO? So, if I can't wrap my head around aborting my non-perfect baby I can at least hope he'll be more normal. Um, seriously. And this is coming from a very pro-choice mama here. I'm going to give dude the benefit of the doubt and hope that he's been spending too much time on the microscope and has forgotten that we aren't idiots for not chosing to abort our babies. Phew. (hope this is coherent...)

Molly said...

Thats the thing, i dont have a special needs child, but i know i would love him with all my heart and see him as perfect as well. But there is the world outside as well and if he could have an easier life then Id love that chance. Ive also seen this article on cnn few weeks back, it seems credible
Happy Holidays and I love your new car, it's gorgeous !!
Molly, BC