Researchers Discover Children with Down Syndrome Face Higher Risk of Leukemia

April 15, 2021 14:20:39

large-scale study conducted by researchers from UC San Francisco and UC Davis Health has found that Down syndrome is a high-risk factor for childhood leukemia. The study, which evaluated the leukemia risk in children suffering from Down syndrome, was reported in the “Journal of Pediatrics.” It found a strong link between acute myeloid leukemia, which is a type of blood cancer, and Down syndrome.

Down syndrome, among the most prevalent genetic conditions in Canada and the United States, affects roughly 6,000 infants born annually in the two countries. That equates to roughly one in every 750 babies born in Canada and one in 700 newborns in the U.S.

Children having Down syndrome are known to have a considerably higher risk of several health conditions in comparison with the population in general and a particularly high risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia (“AML”) before they reach the age of five.

For their study, the researchers evaluated the medical data captured on more than 3.9 million kids who were born between 1996 and 2016 in seven Canadian and U.S. healthcare facilities. The data was made up of the child’s health information, including when they were born to when they’d been diagnosed with cancer, disenrolled or died.

The study’s first author, UC Davis Department of Public Health Sciences graduate Emily Marlow, explained that the study’s main strength was its larger cohort, which had included more cases of leukemia in kids having Down syndrome compared to any prior studies conducted on the subject. This, she continued, enabled the researchers to have a more precise estimation of the risk, particularly for rare types of leukemia such as AML-7.

The group’s research estimated the hazard ratios and incidence of leukemia among other children and children having Down syndrome then adjusted for sex, birth year, the child’s age when they were diagnosed and the health systems. The researchers discovered that in comparison with 0.05% of other children who were diagnosed with AML, 2.8% of kids having Down syndrome had been diagnosed with this particular blood cancer.

Their findings also show that children having Down syndrome possessed an increased risk of acute lymphoid leukemia (“ALL”), age notwithstanding. The researchers also found that ALL was common in children with Down syndrome between the ages two to four while AML was observed to be more prevalent among younger kids. The researchers noted that the AML incidence for the other children remained low up to age 14, while ALL prevalence peaked around age three before declining steadily up to age eight.

Researchers urge parents whose kids have Down syndrome to observe for any signs of leukemia. The most common symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, bruising or easy bleeding, infections and fever and pale skin or fatigue.

This research on the potential link between Down syndrome and leukemia could save lots of lives once timely diagnosis is done, in just the same way that the software and devices made by Brain Scientific Inc. (OTCQB: BRSF) and other companies in the brain diagnostics field can save the lives of patients with neurological conditions.

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