Thursday, November 19, 2009

Breaking News : Rip van Winkle in the Making?

Breaking news is that there may soon ("soon" probably means several years) be a treatment, or partial treatment for Down syndrome, as well as a vaccine for Alzheimer’s, probably sooner. The vaccine is surely good news, if it will remove or reduce the chance of Ricki and others with Down syndrome from getting the disease.
The Treatment for the intellectual disability of Down syndrome is of course much more controversial. As a mother with a teenager with Down syndrome, I always wonder at those who would not accept a cure. Parents state that they fear that treatment might change their child's personality. My reply to this is that my "normal" kids changed too as they hit the teen years; I love them no less. And if being cured would make life SO much easier for my daughter, what type of parent am I if I refuse to treat her for my selfish reasons?!??
[I suspect that many of that 60% who claim that they would not accept a cure will change their mind if a treatment ever becomes a reality.]
The medicines to treat Down syndrome are probably several years away, which for us may be a bit late. I am trying to imagine Ricki as an a adult with a suddenly functioning mind, but with a fraction of her needed education. Such a “Rip van Winkle” state would require very careful and gentle handling, and would be much easier if Ricki's self-esteem would be in a good state to begin with. The possibility simultaneously excites me and scares me to death.

UPDATE: It appears that the new drug (IF proven safe, and IF it works) would be more beneficial for the young, helping them cognitively, as well as helping older individuals against the cognitive decline of Alzheimer's. If it will help adults with Down syndrome IMPROVE their learning ability is questionable, and we will have to wait and see if there will be any possitive affects in this area. So I may not have a Miss van Winkle in several years. Instead perhaps the "Last of the Mohicans".....

1 comment:

Marie said...

What part of Down syndrome are they "curing" exactly? Since Down syndrome is a syndrome, there are many parts of it--the many things affected by an extra chromosome. Very interesting.