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Mental Retardation Pamphlet, Research Paper Example

Pages: 2

Words: 443

Research Paper

As parents or parents-to-be, we understand that your concerns about the mental health of your unborn child. Thus, we wish to inform you of the various possible causes of mental retardation in children in order to help you understand these conditions better.

Chromosomal – When a developing unborn child lacks or has an excess of chromosomes, chromosomal birth defects may occur, and among  the possible defects is mental retardation. While actual practical causes of mental retardation from chromosomal problems are still largely a mystery, research suggest that it is highly influenced by age, with expectant mothers over 35 (Huether et al., 1998) or expectant fathers over 42 (Warner, 2003) being at greater risk of having mentally retarded children. Down syndrome, Trisomy 13, Trisomy 18 and Cri du chat are chromosomal disorders.

True genetic – These disorders occur when cells lack the ability to generate the proteins or enzymes necessary to convert chemicals or carry nutrients to certain areas in the body (McKusick, 1994). True genetic disorders are hereditary, and their occurrence can be considerably traced along an infant’s family tree (McKusick, 1994).

Environmental – There are also various studies which suggest that external factors, such as exposure an expectant mother’s exposure to chemicals like arsenic (Liu et al., 2010), or an expectant mother’s illegal drug use, alcoholism, and malnutrition (Reser, 2006) can all increase the chances of giving birth to a mentally retarded child.  Reser (2006) explained that a person’s body prioritizes its own sustenance before that of the new life inside it, and so when an expectant mother does not take proper care of herself during pregnancy, there is a greater risk of her body being unable to support the full development of her child.

References

Huether, C., Ivanovich, J., Goodwin, B., Krivchenia, E., Hertzberg, V., Edmonds, L., May, D., and Priest, J. (1998). “Maternal age specific risk rate estimates for Down syndrome among live births in whites and other races from Ohio and metropolitan Atlanta, 1970-1989″. Journal of Medical Genetics, 35 (6): 482–490.

Liu, Y., McDermott, S., Lawson, A., and Marjorie, A. (2010). “The relationship between mental retardation and developmental delays in children and the levels of arsenic, mercury and lead in soil samples taken near their mother’s residence during pregnancy.” International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 213(2): 116-123.

McKusick, V. (1994). Mendelian Inheritance in Man. Catalogs of Human Genes and Genetic Disorders. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Reser, J. (2006). “Evolutionary neuropathology & congenital mental retardation: Environmental cues predictive of maternal deprivation influence the fetus to minimize cerebral metabolism in order to express bioenergetic thrift.” Medical Hypotheses, 67(3): 529-544.

Warner, J. (2003).  “Dad’s Age Raises Down Syndrome Risk, Too.” WebMD Medical News. Retrieved November 13, 2010 from: http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/news/20030701/dad-age-down-syndrome

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