News Roundup [abridged Versions Appear In The Paper Journal]

Painting is earliest example of portrayal of Down's syndrome

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7381.126/b (Published 18 January 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:126
  1. Roger Dobson
  1. Abergavenny

    Psychiatrists have identified what is believed to be one of the earliest paintings of someone with Down's syndrome.


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    The 1515 Flemish painting, by an unknown artist, considerably predates John Langdon Down's first description of the condition in 1866. It shows an angel (next to Mary)—and possibly one other figure, the shepherd in the centre of the background—with the syndrome.

    “If our diagnosis is correct, this implies that Down's syndrome is not a modern disease,” say the …

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