As people who have Down syndrome grow older, their mental and physical development continues to deteriorate, according to a new study.
The findings from a large Australian study published in the Journal of the Australian Medical Association (JAMA) reveal that the number of people with Down syndrome and autism is increasing.
The researchers looked at more than 2,000 people with developmental delays between the ages of one and 75, and found that the proportion of people in their early 70s with Down Syndrome increased by nearly two-thirds over the past 10 years.
They also found that there was an increase in the number and type of Down syndrome in Australia over the same time period.
While the authors of the study believe that the increase in Down syndrome prevalence is due to people having more babies, they also say that this could be attributed to a change in public perception of Down Syndrome.
The report said that the research had found that in the past few decades there has been a significant increase in awareness of the condition, but that there is still a great deal of stigma surrounding it.
The new study also found an increase of Down and Autism Spectrum Disorders (DASD) in Australia.
This is the most common form of autism and is associated with a range of problems, including difficulties with social interactions, communication and learning, obsessive-compulsive symptoms and difficulties in school and work.
People with DASD are more likely to have a history of childhood trauma, as well as other medical conditions such as schizophrenia, autism spectrum disorder and anxiety disorders.
While a study published by the journal Nature Communications last year found that Down syndrome is a ‘highly malignant genetic disorder’, it found that more research was needed into this particular form of the disorder, and whether it can be accurately diagnosed.
The Australian research also found there were still significant barriers to diagnosing Down syndrome.
It found that people with more than one of the following conditions had to be assessed by a specialist to make a diagnosis, including those who have had two or more babies.
People who are in a relationship with someone with Down and have had children with the disorder were also at higher risk of having their diagnosis changed, with more women reporting they would be diagnosed as having Down syndrome by their partner.
Dr Sarah Whitehead, a lecturer in clinical genetics at the University of New South Wales, said the study is an important step forward for the field of autism research.
She said there was a significant gap between the science of autism, which has progressed for the past 20 years, and what we now know about autism spectrum disorders.
Dr Whitehead said the new findings highlighted the need for further research.
Dr Whithead said more research would be needed to identify the causes of Down’s condition.
“There is a lot more to know about Down’s and autism spectrum conditions, which could have implications for the development of treatments,” she said.
She also pointed out that the increased prevalence of Down is one of many factors that are being considered for a more holistic approach to treating the condition.