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1,500-year-old skeleton reveals oldest case of Down syndrome

By Jennifer Pilgrim,

While excavating south of the Abbey of Sing-Jean-des-Vignes in northeastern France, archaeologists originally found a child's skeleton in 1989. Now, with more modern medical techniques, scientists have found that the child may have had Down syndrome. Appearing to be from a child between the age of 5-7 years old, the skeleton appears to be one of the first noticed cases of Down syndrome in the world.

According to ABC News, the case study that was recently published in the International Journal of Pathology features the skull of the child. The skull appears broader, with thinner bones and a flattened base - these are all signs of Down syndrome today.

Down syndrome is a condition distinguished with its intellectual disability, specific facial appearance and mild delays in cognition and recognition by the person. Developed due to chromosomal inconsistencies, it is often stigmatized in today's society, outlines American Live Wire news.

The skull was compared to 78 other children of a similar age at the time to determine if the child really did have Down syndrome. A concurrent computed tomography (CT) scan was also taken to re-create the child's facial features via computer.

 

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