Pune: Increase in stress levels seen in couples during the time of conception has a direct link with the chromosome defect that causes Down Syndrome, said Surekha Ramachandran, Founder of Down Syndrome Federation of India (DSFI).
She has been studying the Down Syndrome for many years since her daughter was diagnosed with it 37 years ago. Ramachandran was in the city on Tuesday to announce the second International Down Syndrome Conference, which would be held in the city from May 31 to June 2 at The Corinthians Club.
The event will bring together all stakeholders like educators, health care professionals and parents to spread awareness about the condition. She noted that Down Syndrome is one of the most common genetic birth disorders, which is associated with mild to moderate learning disabilities, developmental delays, characteristic facial features and low muscle tone in early infancy.
Through a series of screenings and tests, Down Syndrome can be detected before and after the baby
is born, she said. Interacting with the media on Tuesday, Ramachandran said they are presently studying whether stress can directly be linked to Down Syndrome.
“Our observations do seem to suggest that stress definitely is a factor, which can play a significant role and we are collecting evidence to prove it. The present statistics show that 1 in 750 children are diagnosed with this condition and 90 per cent of these children are the second child born to the parents,” said Ramachandran.
She added that early diagnosis and screening of children with Down Syndrome is very important. She said that screening should mainly be done for heart, vision, hearing or stomach related issues.
“If parents and doctors can ensure early diagnosis and intervention for these children, then this can help children with Down Syndrome lead close to normal lives, attend school, marry and even do jobs. Ramachandran said that many such success stories would be seen during the conference.