What is Mongolism (Down’s Syndrome)



This is the name given to a type of mental retardation in which the child is born with certain typical characteristics: The eyes slant upward and outward, and the eye sockets are smaller than normal.

The nose is small with an underdeveloped bridge, and the tongue usually protrudes. The fifth finger is short and in-curved, and the first and second toes are spaced widely apart. The skin may be dry with poor muscle tone and marked looseness of the joints. Mongoloid children are usually affectionate and pleasant but -at develop beyond the level of idiot or moron. They are susceptible to infections and have a higher than average rate of leukemia.

The cause of mongolism is a specific chromosome abnormality. Sometimes the chromosomes number forty-seven of the normal forty-six, and an abnormally shaped chromosome may be found (Philadelphia chromosome). The condition is hereditary. Mongoloid children account for about 7 to 10 percent of institutionalized mental defectives. There is no treatment except home or institutionalized care. `with recognition that these children are permanently retarded. The families are usually warned that they may possibly give birth to other children with this abnormality. (See also INTELLIGENCE-Mental Retardation.)