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Down Syndrome Awareness Month

In this week’s issue, read stories of local families touched by Down Syndrome and their heartwarming stories as we share about the Engele family of Nashville and the Lehde family of Sparta.

What Is Down Syndrome

In every cell in the human body is a nucleus, where genetic material is stored in genes.  The nucleus of each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, half of which are inherited from each parent. Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.

The cause of the extra full or partial chromosome is still unknown. It can originate from either the father or the mother. Approximately 5 percent of the cases have been traced to the father.

The additional genetic material alters the development and causes characteristics associated with Down syndrome.  A few of the common physical traits are low muscle tone, small stature, upward slant to the eyes, and a single deep crease across the center of the palm.

An individual may possess these characteristics to different degrees, or not at all.

Read more about the diagnosis and the stories in this week’s issue.

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