TAMIL NADU

Down's syndrome clinic opened

CELEBRITY LAUNCH: Actor Vijay interacts with children after inaugurating the Down's syndrome clinic in Nungambakkam on Saturday. By Special Arrangement  

Staff Reporter

It will allow interaction among affected children

CHENNAI: Kanchi Kamakoti CHILDS Trust Hospital in Nungambakkam here has opened a special clinic for children with Down's syndrome.

The clinic will provide information and give an opportunity for families of children to interact. Initial and follow-up evaluation with preventive medical screening and consultation, parent training and therapy will be provided.

Actor Vijay formally inaugurated the clinic on Saturday and spent some time with the children there.

Down's syndrome is a genetic disorder characterised by a combination of birth defects, including some degree of mental retardation, impaired facial features and associated withheart defects, visual and hearing impairment and other health problems.

"Thirty per cent of children suffer from congenital heart problems and 10 to 20 per cent have gastro-intestinal anomalies," says Kalpana Gowrishanker, consultant, Genetics, at the hospital. Though women above 35 are at greater risk of giving birth to such babies, in India, even younger women have children with Down's syndrome.

A special blood test called Karyotyping helps to diagnose the condition. With early intervention and special programmes for preschool children to develop their skills, such children can be integrated into regular classroom, says Dr. Kalpana.

Hospital chairman V. Narayanan said: "Our hospital has the equipment required for foetus examination and our experts can give appropriate advice. Foetus examination and genetic counselling can help prevent other birth defects as they reduce the risks of abnormal conditions or malformation for expecting parents."

The genetics clinic for counselling parents functions on all weekdays.