A new study published in the American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities asks parents how they feel about methods of mitigating or preventing symptoms of Down syndrome.
The study, conducted by researchers from the Mayo Clinic and Case Western Reserve University, was published in the January 2020 issue.
Parents were asked about prenatal treatments and drug interventions aimed at improving neurocognition in children who have Down syndrome. A majority of parents supported the therapies but were concerned about the safety of treatments and possible unwanted changes to their child’s personality.
Researchers are investigating new technologies to mitigate or prevent symptoms of Down syndrome (DS), including chromosome silencing and pharmacotherapy. We surveyed parents of individuals with DS to assess their opinions on two hypothetical scenarios describing prenatal chromosome silencing and pediatric pharmacological intervention to improve neurocognition in children with DS. Although a slim majority of participants supported the availability of both therapies, respondent support was contingent on the risks presented, including the risk of miscarriage in the prenatal intervention and the impact of pharmaceuticals on their children’s personality. Many parents expressed ambivalence, articulating a desire to improve their children’s quality of life but requiring more safety and efficacy research before agreeing to a genetic or pharmacological intervention.