Living with Down Syndrome

The Miracle Drink
Is there such a thing as a miracle drink? Some claim Kombucha is just that. Kombucha is a western name for sweetened tea that has been fermented using a macroscopic solid mass of microorganisms called a kombucha colony.

With a special guest joining the group -- Dr. Jim’s father, Dr. Bill Sears, an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine -- The Doctors try out the drink, to mixed reactions.

The senior Dr. Sears advises to be careful of home brews, but says Kombucha contains many healthy and helpful ingredients such as probiotics and antioxidants. Dr. Ordon is a fan of Kombucha and said it gave him energy, made him feel good in general and kept him “more regular.”

“It’s not going to revolutionize your diet or your life,” Kombucha creator, G.T. Dave, says. “It’s simply something to compliment a balanced lifestyle and a balanced diet.”

Miracle drink or not, Dr. Travis says since Kombucha does not have much extra sugar and does have good nutrients, it is a healthier option than sodas and many other juices.

How Old is Too Old?

More women than ever are getting pregnant over the age of 40, and The Doctors discuss the risks and rewards of having babies later in life. Since people are getting married and starting families later than ever before, they also have babies later.

But there are risks. A woman over 40 has about a 1-in-100 chance of having a baby with Down syndrome, and for a woman over 45, the chances increase to about 1-in-30.

Down syndrome is a genetic condition that causes delays in physical and intellectual development. People with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes instead of the usual 46. It is the most frequently occurring chromosomal disorder.

DOWN SYNDROME FACTS (Source: National Association for Down syndrome)
• Down syndrome occurs in approximately one in every 800 births
There are more than 350,000 people living with Down syndrome in the United States
The incidence of Down syndrome increases with advancing maternal age, however, 80 percent of children are born to women under 35 years old.
The average life expectancy of individuals with Down syndrome is 55 years, with many living into their 60’s and 70’s.


And while there are risks for women over 40 who get pregnant, The Doctors say that as long as the woman stays healthy and pays extra attention to prenatal care, 40 is never too old.


Living With Down Syndrome

Pam, 39, talks about her 2-year-old son Torin, who has Down syndrome. She explains that Torin’s special needs forced her to make adjustments in her family’s routine and how she raised Torin. She is happy to report that they have been working on his speech and motor skills, and Torin is thriving and happy. Pam and Torin join The Doctors and talk with Drs. Bill and Jim Sears about raising a child with Down syndrome.


Dr. Jim’s brother, 19-year-old Stephen, has Down syndrome. He and his mother Martha join the show. Stephen talks about his baseball and flag football accomplishments, and Martha says that her biggest challenge with Stephen has always been communication. She explains different methods she used to raise Stephen, including using sign language. She says there have been many developments in teaching communication skills to children with Down syndrome.


“Instead of just saying, ‘Oh your child’s going to have all of these problems, it’s going to be bad, bad, bad,’ [for] most families with kids with Down syndrome, that child is a huge source of joy,” Dr. Jim says.


Actor John C. McGinley, also known as Dr. Perry Cox on the hit TV show Scrubs, joined The Doctors to talk about his 11-year-old son Max, who also has Down syndrome. John says he uses laughter with Max, and it helped a lot especially early on dealing with the communication trouble.


“We didn’t have our terrible twos because of different delays that we had,” he says. “So now we’re having our terrible 11s.”


McGinley is a national spokesman for the National Down Syndrome Society. He talks about the “Buddy Walk” the Society puts on to help people with Down syndrome. The “Buddy Walkwas established in 1995 to promote acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome. In the U.S., there are 300 1-mile walks put on annually to raise awareness and funds for the NDSS.


Know Your Moles

Jessica in Reno, Nev., is concerned about moles developing on her body on a regular basis and wants to know what she can do to prevent it. Moles are a cluster of pigment cells that develop in direct relationship to sun exposure. If you think you are developing new moles, it may be something different, such as an age spot or a sun spot, Dr. Ordon says. New moles are not a problem, but if there is a change in an existing mole – size, color, borders, consistency – you should see a doctor.


The Sleep-Eater

Everyone is prone to the late-night snack, but what if you raided the refrigerator throughout the night while you were sound asleep?


Amy, 24, has suffered from Sleep-Related Eating Disorder since she was 7 years old. SRED is characterized by compulsive binge eating while sleepwalking at night, and causes Amy to eat while sleeping with no recollection of it the next morning.


“She’ll have a handful of chips and she’ll be shoving them in her mouth,” Amy’s husband Ryan, 27, says. “I have woken up several times with Cheetos stuck to my back.”


She even has had arguments with her husband while asleep, and doesn’t remember anything about it when she wakes up. Amy also suffers from Restless Legs Syndrome, which causes her to constantly jerk her legs in her sleep, and may trigger her SRED.


“People have given suggestions [such as] ‘Well, you should lock up the cupboards,’” she says. “Well, it’s not that easy. I’ll know where the key is. I’ll find it!"


At its worst, Amy was sleep-eating up to nine times a night. She sought help and is now takes anticonvulsant and anti-seizure medications, which cut the binges down to about once a night. When she decides to get pregnant, Amy will still be able to take the anticonvulsant, but will not be able to take the anti-seizure medication, and may need to seek another combination from her doctor.


Dr. Daniel Norman, a board-certified sleep specialist at the St. John’s Sleep Disorders Center joins The Doctors to talk about SRED. He says sleep-eating is related to other sleep behaviors such as sleep-talking and sleepwalking.






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OAD 12/2/08