Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Future

This article came out last spring, yet I didn't read it until about a month ago. I immediately started this post, but it's taken me forever to get all of my thoughts out..... Head's up: they are still jumbled!

As with anything in the medical field, new drugs, new technologies, and new studies are continually affecting life as we know it. Sometimes it's for the better, and sometimes, not so much. A new drug, RG1662, has been found to improve memory in mice, which in turn allows for improvements in their ability to learn and retain new knowledge. Scientist and doctors hope that clinical trials on adults with Down syndrome will provide the same results.

This sounds like great news, as improved learning and thinking can only improve overall cognitive functioning. However, no change comes without consequences. In a perfect world, improvements in medicine and technology offer only positives to the individuals who are affected by them, but how often is that the case? Many times side affects come into play. With this particular drug, there have already been tests on humans which resulted in no side affects. But sometimes those side affects are not as cut and dry as symptoms like headaches or decreased appetite. Sometimes the side affects are behavioral. Sometimes the consequences are changes that can't be undone.

Don't get me wrong, this could be really, really great. If this drug helps people with Down syndrome integrate into society more readily so that 'typical' people can be touched by their awesomeness, rock on. In addition, if this drug gives adults with bad stereotypes and questionable judgement a better feeling about those with Down syndrome in general, therefore increasing the chance that they or someone they know will choose to NOT terminate a pregnancy suspected to produce a baby with Down syndrome, resulting in an increased amount of awesome Rubys in the world...double bonus.
But I have to think about the 'what if'. My main concern with any of this is how will it affect Ruby. Even at her young age, she spends so much time intently studying those around her, especially those she loves. And she gives kisses so freely and lights up at the mere chance of a snuggle or hug. I have to think that's because her love is totally unfiltered, even more so than my other babies' love was at this age. I know with them, that love has remained awesome and 'more' than most adults I know, but it has slightly changed and become more guarded, less 'free'. Many things point to Ruby's love not changing in that way; she will likely love freely longer than her siblings. What if the improved cognitive ability she gains from this drug or another like it causes her to see the world differently? What if her new thinking leads her to the same slightly jaded view of expressing love that most 'typical' people have? Not trying to perpetuate the stereotype that all people with Down syndrome are happy and love to give hugs, but most people would agree that, in general, the Rubys of the world are a loving bunch. How sad would it be do compromise that amazing quality?

So here I sit, on the fence. Excited about advances, but scared about how far their effects will reach. Pandora's Box....

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