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May 1962

Mongolism in Orientals

Author Affiliations

Senior Assistant Resident in Pediatrics; present address: Universitäts-Kinderklinik, Kinderspital Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.; From the Kauikeolani Children's Hospital.; Seminar, the Kauikeolani Children's Hospital.

Am J Dis Child. 1962;103(5):706-714. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1962.02080020721013

In 1866, Langdon Down 1 published his classic paper, "Observations on Ethnic Classification of Idiots." To one group of mental defectives he assigned the term "Mongol," derived from their facial appearance which closely resembled the facies of the nomadic people of the Central Asian kingdom of Mongolia. The designation "mongolism" as used today is equated with mental retardation and certain characteristic oriental features, specifically, small, slanted orbital fissures, prominent medial epicanthal folds, depressed nasal bridge, and flat occiput. Since the facial characteristics are present to a variable degree in normal oriental persons, the question has arisen whether the diagnosis of mongolism can be made as readily on the basis of history and physical examination in Orientals with this condition as in others. The purpose of this paper is to present a series of oriental children with mongolism and to determine how they resemble or differ from