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Birth Defects

  1. Mar 16, 2004 #1
    We were learning about birth defects in Biology.

    Stuff about genetics like Down Syndrome, Mobius, that usually lead to an extra/less chromosome causing retardation.

    Is there a way one can become mentally retarded?

    I mean, without multiple concussions or whacks/impacts to the head. Like just a sickness that comes during middle-age.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 16, 2004 #2


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    You are maybe talking about pure genetic causes. I am not sure of the right answer to that. But something like mad cow disease can be said to cause retardation, I would think. And isn't it transmitted by the ingestion of certain agents that are built of proteins and don't even have nucleic acids? "Preons" is the word used for that pathogen. I think preons also can account for other type of brain problems as well.

    If you are talking strictly about birth defects, then you can ignore what I've just written.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2004
  4. Mar 16, 2004 #3
    Down syndrom is caused by nondisjunction of a chromosome. Chromosomes do not seperate properly causing down syndrome. This is more predominate in females over 45.

  5. Mar 16, 2004 #4


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    It all depends what you mean by retarded, but Alzheimers disease might fit the description. Maybe a better example might be a stroke which can shut down a small but crucial area in the brain, leaving the person altered in an instant.
  6. Mar 17, 2004 #5
    Another genetic disease that has a mid-life onset, is Huntington's Disease. It involves the degeneration of neurons, so not only is there mental retardation, but general loss in volentary movement.

    Unsafe levels of mercury, or the lack of iodine in the diet can also cause mental retardation, epecially for the feotus or developing children.

    So keep all this in mind when donating to charities... donate generously, cause it could happen to you!
  7. Mar 17, 2004 #6
    There's also strokes, sun strokes, encephalitis...
  8. Mar 17, 2004 #7


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    asd chemicalfreak stated, the viral encephalitis can do it. In children, the bacterial meningitis such as strep, H.Influenza, etc. can cause blindness or deafness and mental retardation. Defects at birth, but not genetic causes ,are inutero exposure to the TORCH organisms while in the mother such as herpes, toxoplasmosis, rubella etc. can cause mental retardation.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2004
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