Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Michelle Sie Whitten, President and CEO of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation released the following statement today regarding the recent CBSN story on ‘eradicating’ Down syndrome in Iceland:

“It’s heartbreaking to see what is happening in Iceland today, and shocking to see that this level of misinformation and discrimination against people with Down syndrome still exists. While every mother and every pregnancy is unique, the fact is those born with Down syndrome can and do live long, happy and productive lives. Women making these critical decisions need to have the facts.

Educating the medical community and pregnant women with accurate and current information about Down syndrome is imperative. Global Down Syndrome Foundation and the National Down Syndrome Congress recently updated their Prenatal Testing Pamphlet for pregnant women and health providers about what to expect with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. This information is free and available in English and Spanish.

The situation in Iceland is a reminder of how important it is that Global continues to invest in medical care, education and advocacy, and that we continue to advance the world class research that is helping us better understand Down syndrome,” said Whitten.

In addition, below are specific facts about the condition in the United States:

  • Lifespan – Today, the average lifespan of a person with Down syndrome is nearly 60 years.
  • Termination Rates – The best available statistics in the U.S. are that an estimated 67 percent of women who receive an amniocentesis resulting in a positive test result for Down syndrome choose to terminate their pregnancies. But over 95 percent of pregnant women don’t even elect to receive an amniocentesis.
  • Medical Care & Research – There have been great strides in medical care and research that have doubled the lifespan of people with Down syndrome over the last 30 years.
  • Educational Opportunities – People with Down syndrome are included in public schools. Many complete high school, and increasing numbers are going to college or get vocational training.
  • Voting & Employment – Many people with Down syndrome work, volunteer and vote.
  • Marriage, Siblings & Self-advocates – Despite potential challenges, personal accounts and studies show most families that have a child with Down syndrome are stable, successful and happy, and that siblings often report having increased levels of compassion and empathy. One major study on marriages and Down syndrome shows that the divorce rate among parents of children with Down syndrome is lower than the national average.

For the most current, accurate information and resources associated with people with Down syndrome visit

Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global) is a nonpartisan, leading research, medical care and advocacy organization for people with Down syndrome. Global believes strongly that all Americans, including members of our community, must have access to affordable, high-quality healthcare and health insurance coverage appropriate for their needs. Global urges Senators to keep key patient protections and health insurance coverage that are part of current law in any Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) replacement bill that is considered by the Senate.

We encourage the Senate to:

  • Ensure that people with pre-existing conditions like Down syndrome continue to have access to affordable, high-quality health insurance – regardless of whether or not they currently have insurance;
  • Protect federal funding for Medicaid to ensure that people who received coverage under previous expansions won’t lose their insurance;
  • Remove caps on federal contributions to state Medicaid programs – caps could result in persons losing coverage or those maintaining Medicaid coverage seeing a reduction in covered medical services and higher out-of-pocket costs; and
  • Continue the Affordable Care Act provision that allows children up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ health insurance policies.

Time is of the essence – the Senate may hold a vote on this legislation this week. We urge all Global Down Syndrome Foundation advocates to contact your Senators immediately and urge the Senate to allow for a full and open debate on their healthcare proposal and to oppose any plan that removes current patient protections and coverage for individuals with Down syndrome. As the debate on health care reform continues, Global is engaged with our friends in Congress to protect the health and wellbeing of all individuals with Down syndrome.

Thank you for your advocacy and support!


Corresponding Phone Script:

“Hi. My name is _________ and I live in [Hometown, State].

“I’m a volunteer and advocate with the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. I am deeply concerned that the Senate version of the American Health Care Act will not include protections that are important for people with Down syndrome. In particular, I am concerned that this bill [1) doesn’t guarantee insurance coverage for people with preexisting conditions, 2) cuts federal funding for Medicaid expansion, 3) establishes caps on federal funding for Medicaid, and/or 4) would not allow people to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans up to age 26 – include one or more based on your specific concerns].

“I am also concerned that the public will not have enough time to review and provide feedback on this bill. I hope Senator ____ will work with [his/her] colleagues to make sure that there is ample time for debate and input on this bill.

“These healthcare protections are extremely important not only for people with Down syndrome, but for all Americans.

“Thank you.”

Global researches anchor T21RS International Conference

June 12th, 2017 by Global Down Syndrome Foundation

msw-t21Global Down Syndrome Foundation is a founding member of the T21 Research Society.  The Society is the first non-profit scientific organization of researchers studying Down syndrome, founded to promote basic and transnational research on Down syndrome and to apply new scientific knowledge to develop improved treatments and cures. After hosting a successful first conference in Paris, the society hosted a second conference in Chicago from June 7th to 11th.  A number of Global affiliated scientists and scholars were invited to present their groundbreaking research:

Joaquin Espinosa, PhD
Associate Director for Science at the Global affiliated Linda Crnic Institute for Down syndrome
Understanding Down syndrome as an Interferonpathy: Espinosa’s explains the implications for the understanding of leukemia and other co-morbidities driven by trisomy 21

Ann-Charlotte Granholm-Bently, PhD
Researcher for the Down Syndrome-Alzheimer’s Disease Investigator program powered by Global, Linda Crnic Institute and the National Alzheimer’s Association
Novel mechanisms in Down syndrome pathophysiology: Designer receptors reveal an important role for noradrenergic systems in Down syndrome pathology

Roger Reeves, PhD
T21 President and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome
Breakthrough and oral communication sessions: Reeves lecture focuses on a specialized pro-resolution mediator approach to chronic inflammation in the Ts654Dn mouse model of Down syndrome

Katherine Waugh, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow for the Crnic Institute
Flash Poster Presentation: Waugh’s presentation includes extensive perturbations of the immune system among individuals with Trisomy 21

Michelle Sie Whitten
Global President and CEO
Medical Policies for people with Down syndrome: Whitten discusses medical care for adults with Down syndrome and lifting barriers

Donna Willcock, PhD
Researcher for the Down Syndrome-Alzheimer’s Disease Investigator program powered by Global, Linda Crnic Institute and the national Alzheimer’s Association
Biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease in Down syndrome: Wilcock shares how individuals with Down syndrome who have Alzheimer’s disease have a distinct neuroinflammatory phenotype compared to sporadic Alzheimer’s disease

Because Down syndrome research has generated findings that affect thinking regarding research on Alzheimer’s disease and solid tumor cancers, T21RS creates another forum for drawing attention to the need for further funding for Down syndrome research, which could in turn benefit everyone’s lives. Global and the Crnic Institute are at the forefront of this research and look forward to helping place a greater emphasis on collaborations worldwide.

The conference that presents the latest scientific developments in the field of Down syndrome research is powered by a dynamic team of scientists, researchers, and scholars from across the world:

Conference Organizers:

Roger Reeves, PhD
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Jean Delabar, PhD

Mara Dierssen, MD, PhD
CRG-Center for Genomic Regulation

John O’Bryan, PhD
University of Illinois Chicago

Scientific Program Committee:

Mara Dierssen, MD, PhD- Chair
CRG-Center for Genomic Regulation

Anita Bhattacharyya, PhD
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Cynthia Lemere, PhD
Harvard Medical School

Jean Delabar, PhD

Dean Nizetic, MD, PhD
Nanyang Technological University Singapore

Jorge Busciglio, PhD
University of California-Irvine

Nicole Schupf, PhD, DrPH
Columbia University Medical Center

Pablo Caviedes, MD, PhD
University of Chile

Deny Menghini, PhD
Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital

For more info on T21RS, visit