Office of the Governor Rick Perry

First Lady Anita Perry's Blog

Texas Our Texas

  • Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    Advancing Down Syndrome Research

    In the last few years, researchers have made significant progress toward understanding and treating the cognitive issues associated with Down syndrome.  Studies now provide hope of biomedical therapies for improving memory, learning and communication in individuals with Down syndrome, offering the potential for increased life opportunities. It all sounds very hopeful. In recent decades, improved health care, education and community opportunities and the support of families and advocacy groups have improved the quality of life for individuals with Down syndrome. The life expectancy of those with Down syndrome has more than doubled over the past 30 years.

    Interestingly, associations between Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease have been identified, which open encouraging paths for treating both Down syndrome and Alzheimer’s. In addition, a decreased incidence of breast and colon cancer has been reported within the Down syndrome population and this finding offers additional clues, which may prove to be useful in developing treatments for these conditions. I applaud First Lady Christie for bringing attention to Research Down Syndrome and the great work this organization is doing.

    Closer to home, we’re blessed here in Texas with Down Home Ranch, a working farm and ranch, where about 40 adults and children—including 28 with Down syndrome and other disabilities—live year round. Founded by a family who had a baby with Down syndrome, the parents “learned quickly that this baby—like their other children—was first and foremost a person, worthy of love, friends, and the joys, sorrows, and opportunities open to any other,” to quote its website. Down Home Ranch also welcomes 160 people with disabilities to summer residential camps. What a beautiful contribution Down Home Ranch makes to countless families by giving their children opportunities they may not have otherwise.