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Study points out connection between genetic mutation and intellectual disability

A recent study looking at severe cases of intellectual disability caused by genetic defects found that many cases may actually not be inherited, but the result of random mutations. The small-scale study reportedly looked at the genetic makeup of 51 children, both of their parents and a control group. What researchers found is that, in at least 55 percent of those cases, there was no evidence that either parent carried faulty genes responsible for the disability.

The findings are somewhat of a relief for parents of children born with a severe mental disability, who may be concerned about having another child with the same condition. As one of the researchers pointed out, the average chances of having another child with the same disability are usually estimated to be 8 percent. The probability decreases dramatically, however, in cases where a random mutation is to blame.

Other researchers have pointed out potential oversights of the study, but have also noted that it does help explain why the frequency of children born with intellectual disabilities remains stabled at around 2 percent, which would be difficult to understand in light of the fact that most people with intellectual disabilities are less likely to have children.

People with intellectual disabilities can become eligible for Social Security disability benefits. In putting together an application for these conditions, it is important to do so in as thorough a manner as possible. The Social Security Administration has specific requirements and preferences regarding the kind of evidence it is looking for and the sources of that evidence. Having an advocate through the application process is a great help, particularly if an appeal becomes necessary.

Source: USA Today, "Gene mutations blamed for many mental disabilities," September 27, 2012.

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