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Study shows prevalence of Down syndrome in Utah

Study shows prevalence of Down syndrome in Utah



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SALT LAKE CITY -- A government study shows Utah babies are more likely to be born with Down syndrome than those in nine other states.

The study, published in the American Academy of Pediatrics' journal Pediatrics, looked at 10 states. In nine states, one out of 848 babies had Down syndrome. In Utah, it's one in 730.

The study didn't explore why, but experts tell the Salt Lake Tribune Down syndrome could be more prevalent in Utah because of the high number of older mothers and fewer abortions in the state.

An older age increases the risk of the chromosomal disorder, and more Utah women continue to have babies into their late 30s and 40s.

**What is Down Syndrome?**
Down syndrome is a condition in which a baby is born with an extra chromosome. Normally, a baby is born with 46 chromosomes. Babies born with Down syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21. This extra copy changes the body's and brain's normal development and causes mental and physical problems for the baby. *-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention*
Doctors also say fewer Utahns have abortions after finding out through testing that their baby will be born with Down syndrome.

The study says the prevalence of Down syndrome births nationally from 1999 to 2003 was 11.8 babies per 10,000 live births. In Utah, the prevalence was 13.7.

The study also looked at data from Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas.

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