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Genetic diagnosis of Down syndrome in an underserved community

It is a matter of course that in high‐income countries, infants born with features suggestive of Down syndrome (DS) are offered genetic testing for confirmation of a clinical diagnosis. Benefits of a definitive diagnosis include an end to the diagnostic odyssey, informed prognosis, opportunities for caregiver support, inclusion to social support networks, and more meaningful genetic counseling. The healthcare experience for families of children born with DS in low‐ and middle‐income nations is in stark contrast with such a level of care. Barriers to obtaining genetic diagnosis might include economic disparities, geographical isolation, and lack of access to health care professionals trained in genetic medicine. As part of a combined research and community outreach effort, we provided genetic testing for several patients with DS. These individuals and their families live on several resource‐limited Caribbean islands and have either limited or virtually no access to medical genetics services. Within this group were three families with recurrent DS. Karyotype established that translocation events were not involved in the DS in any of these families. This information enabled genetic counseling to help family members understand their recurrent DS. A definitive diagnosis of DS is beneficial to families in resource‐limited communities and may help to provide such families with genetic counseling, reassurance, and peace of mind.

Authors:   Andrew K. Sobering, Joshua B. Stevens, Janice L. Smith, Beverly Nelson, Tyhiesia Donald, Sarah H. Elsea
Journal:   American Journal of Medical Genetics Part A
Year:   2017
Pages:   n/a
DOI:   10.1002/ajmg.a.38573
Publication date:   26-Dec-2017
Facts, background information, dossiers
  • diagnosis
  • genetic diagnosis
  • Research
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