We are now told that more babies are being born with Downs syndrome, than was the case before pre-natal screening was available. We have to commend parents on their care and devotion, wish affected families all the very best and offer all the support we can.

The reason for the increase, articles seem to suggest, is that prejudices in society are reducing and willingness, on parents' part, to raise affected children, is increasing.




I don't know what I'm missing here (human medicine is not my field, although of course, as a human, I have a deep interest in it) but I would have thought that parental willingness could hardly be a factor if, before pre-natal screening, parents didn't know ahead of the birth that the baby would be affected.

My anxiety is that there may be factors in society and our environment that could be giving rise to this increase and which may not be being researched or investigated. Of course, the trend towards older mums may be a factor but it is folly not to look into the possibility of routine factors, such as diet, agrochemicals, vaccination, drugs, alcohol, smoking etc. (the latter two are unlikely, as they were very prevalent in the years before pre-natal screeningwas avaiable). This is a hereditary problem and we should always be on the lookout for factors that could affect the health and welfare of future generations, especially if negative factors could be avoidable. The reward for vigilance could be that fewer have to suffer the effects of hereditary problems.

[Why not take a look at www.alternativevet.org , while you're here?]