Dr Adrian Treloar

Professor Lejeune was a remarkable man who discovered the chromosomal cause of Down’s syndrome and who also did much research bringing great benefits and improvements to the care of people with Down’s.  Indeed the Lejeune clinic in London (which was set up by members of the Catholic Medical Association) exists as a result of Prof LeJeune’s contributions. He was a devout and faithful Catholic. You can read more about Professor Lejeune in the August [1] and November [2] 2011 editions of the CMQ.

You can also read his own lecture on this to the Anna fund in 1992. He starts by saying “It is a great pleasure for me to speak to people who love Down’s children. There is no such thing as a Down’s person but human persons are affected by a very special disease, which is due to an excess of a good thing. The chromosome in Trisomy 21 is in triplicate instead of duplicate [3]. He went onto talk about the science and good care of people with Down’s syndrome.

We read in a book written by book : Jean-Marie de la Méné. [4] the following story about one day when Professor Lejeune was asked what would be the future of a child with Down’s.

“To this question, Jerome Lejeune replied with a story : One of my friends, Professor Varkani, who taught embryology at Cincinnati, related the following facts to me “One night, that of 20th April 1889, my father, who was a doctor at Branau in Austria, was called to two deliveries. For the one there was a beautiful boy who cried lustily ; for the other, there was a poor girl who was trisomic.
My father followed the destiny of these two children. The boy had an extraordinarily brilliant career ; the girl had a fairly sombre destiny. However, when her mother was stricken by hemiplegia, this girl, whose intelligence quota was very mediocre, kept house with the help of neighbours and gave four years of life to her bedridden mother.”
Lejeune added .. “The old Austrian doctor could not recall the name of the little girl. But he never forgot the name of the little boy… he was called Adolf Hitler”


[1] Editorial. Jerome Lejeune: a doctor for all seasons. Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 61(3) August 2011, 3-5

[2] Treloar A, Can doctors be saints? Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 61(4) November 2011, 8-9

[3] Lejeune J, (1996) Down’s syndrome: Current research. Catholic Medical Quarterly Volume 46(1),21-26

[4] Extract from the book : Le Professeur Lejeune, Fondateur de la Génétique Moderne Jean-Marie de la Méné. Published MamE, 1997, page 45