Doubling Of Life Expectancy Over Past Two Decades For People With Down’s Syndrome

A US population study in this week’s issue of THE LANCET reports how life expectancy of people with Down’s syndrome has doubled since the early 1980s. The study also highlights the unexpected finding that Down’s syndrome appears to reduce the risk of many forms of cancer.

Down’s syndrome (characterised by three copies of chromosome 21) occurs in around one in every 800 live births. It is the most frequently identified cause of mental retardation, but information about illness and causes of death in people with Down’s syndrome is limited. Quanhe Yang and colleagues from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, USA, used data from US death certificates from 1983 to 1997 to calculate the average age at death and standardised mortality odds ratios (SMORs) for common medical conditions in around 17,900 people with Down’s syndrome.

Life expectancy almost doubled from 1982 to 1997, the average age at death increasing from 25 to 49 years. People from non-white races were more likely to die younger than white people with Down’s syndrome. There were substantially increased SMORs for characteristic Down’s syndrome disorders including congenital heart defects, dementia, hypothyroidism, and leukaemia. By contrast, cancers other than leukaemia and testicular cancer were listed on death certificates of people with Down’s syndrome less than one-tenth as often as expected.

Quanhe Yang comments: “Identification of factors responsible for the racial differences recorded could facilitate further improvement in survival of people with Down’s syndrome. Reduced exposure to environmental factors that contribute to cancer risk, tumour-suppressor genes on chromosome 21, or a slower rate of replication or higher likelihood of apoptosis [programmed-cell death] in Down’s syndrome cells, could be possible reasons for paucity of cancer in people with Down’s syndrome.”

Media Contact

Richard Lane alphagalileo

More Information:

http://www.lancet.com

All latest news from the category: Health and Medicine

This subject area encompasses research and studies in the field of human medicine.

Among the wide-ranging list of topics covered here are anesthesiology, anatomy, surgery, human genetics, hygiene and environmental medicine, internal medicine, neurology, pharmacology, physiology, urology and dental medicine.

Back to home

Comments (0)

Write a comment

Newest articles

Researchers shrink camera to the size of a salt grain

Micro-sized cameras have great potential to spot problems in the human body and enable sensing for super-small robots, but past approaches captured fuzzy, distorted images with limited fields of view….

World-first product will be a lifesaving traffic stopper

Game-changing technology to design traffic lights that absorb kinetic energy, stopping them from crumpling when hit by a vehicle, will prevent thousands of fatalities and injuries each year and make…

Scientists capture electron transfer image in electrocatalysis process

The involvement between electron transfer (ET) and catalytic reaction at electrocatalyst surface makes electrochemical process challenging to understand and control. How to experimentally determine ET process occurring at nanoscale is…

Partners & Sponsors