ROBIN LAURANCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROBIN LAURANCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Down's syndrome. Mother playing with her child who has Down's syndrome. Down's syndrome is due to a chromosomal abnormality where each body cell has an extra chromosome (number 21) so that there are 47 chromosomes rather than the usual 46. People with Down's syndrome have varying levels of mental handicap. Their IQ (intelligence quotient) usually lies between 30 and 80, so almost all affected children have learning potential. Other characteristics of the disease are upward-sloping eyes and the increased risk of heart defects, congenital deafness and leukaemia. The chance of having a baby with Down's syndrome increases with maternal age.
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