Arizona Capitol lit blue to 'Light the Way' for Down syndrome research

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: Officer of the Governor) (Source: Officer of the Governor)

The dome of the Arizona state Capitol was bathed in blue light early Wednesday morning as part of the nationwide Light the Way campaign to raise awareness about Down syndrome cognitive research.

The dome was lit Tuesday evening

The date – 3/21 – is significant when it comes to Down syndrome.

“Down syndrome, the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition, most often occurs when a person has an extra [third] copy of chromosome 21 …,” according to the Down Syndrome Network of Arizona.

Nearly 1 in 700 babies in the U.S.  – about 6,000 babies a year -- are born with the condition, according to the National Down Syndrome Society.

DSNetworkAZ says that translates to 161 Arizona babies each year.

“People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions, such as congenital heart defects, respiratory and hearing problems, Alzheimer’s disease, childhood leukemia and thyroid conditions,” explains the website.

Two of Arizona’s state universities – Arizona State University and University of Arizona – have research projects dedicated to understanding Down syndrome, also called trisomy 21, and helping those who have that extra chromosome.

In addition, Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix is running a study that’s looking for a way ro reduce Alzheimer’s disease in people with Down syndrome.

“Advances in research have already helped so many with improved cognitive and motor functioning,” Arizona first lady Angela Ducey said in a news release Tuesday. “Bringing attention to these efforts will highlight the work still to be done and ways we can help every person in Arizona lead a healthy, happy life.”

The first World Down Syndrome Day was March 21, 2006. The United Nations General Assembly has recognized and observed March 21 as World Down Syndrome Day since 2012.

Down syndrome is named for Dr. John Langdon Down who first described the genetic condition in a paper he published in the 1860s.

It is not unusual for the Capitol dome to be specially lit in support of various events and causes.

In January, it was lit blue for Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. In November, it was green for Veterans Day and the national Greenlight A Vet campaign. In October 2015, the dome was purple for a time in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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