There are a lot of debates and stories about Down Syndrome in the media now. Perhaps the most controversial story concerned the statement by biologist Richard Dawkins that it was “immoral” not to abort a fetus with Down Syndrome. Dawkins tried to justify his statement claiming it was aimed at reducing the suffering of those with Down Syndrome and their families.
In response to Dawkins’ statements, the New York Times highlighted recent studies demonstrating that “individuals with Down syndrome can experience more happiness and potential for success than Mr. Dawkins seems to appreciate.” While acknowledging that people with Down Syndrome and their families face many challenges, the author explains that happiness within this group has led to the term the “Down Syndrome Advantage” because:
- lower divorce rates in families of a child with Down Syndrome when compared to families in other circumstances
- siblings feel that relationships with their sisters or brothers with Down Syndrome have made them better people
- lower parental stress levels
- high rates of happiness among people with Down Syndrome
You can read the New York Times’ response to Dawkins here.
Autism and impaired sense of time
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A recent study found that people with autism have problems keeping track of time. The study conducted by researchers at UCLA concluded that people who have problems with working memory, including people with autism, also have issues with the perception of time. This difficulty is more pronounced in people with autism.
The results of this study were in line with earlier studies investigating time perception in people with autism.
More information on this study is available on the SFARI website.
The study, Time Reproduction is Associated with Age and Working Memory in High-Functioning Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder is published in the journal Autism Research.
ADHD drugs do not affect long-term growth
In the past, some studies suggested that stimulant medications used to treat
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Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) would stunt children’s growth. Now a study led by Dr William Barberesi, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, suggests otherwise.
Barberesi and his colleagues examined the long-term effects of stimulant use on height. To do this, they analysed data on 300 children diagnosed with ADHD and checked their height when they became adults. They concluded that, although stimulant medications may delay a growth spurt, they did not effect the children’s height as adults.
You can read more about this study on NPR.
The study, “ADHD, Stimulant Treatment, and Growth: A Longitudinal Study” is published in the journal Pediatrics.