2013: The year in pictures

Well, more accurately, 2013: The Year in Blog Graphics.

Next week’s posts will turn to some serious matters. But, for the last work day of Christmas week, I thought I’d have a little fun and share some of my favorite graphics from the blog for this calendar year. In no particular order, here they are:


I created this gin-and-baby graphic to accompany the post sharing medical advice from the turn of the last century, to make the point that what is considered evidence-based, state-of-the-art medical advice often turns out to be wrong, thereby justifying skepticism.

SwedenmoreprenataltestingmoreselectiveabortionA Swedish newspaper chose this photo of a woman making a heart shape with her hands over her pregnant belly to accompany a report of rising abortions in the wake of more women accepting prenatal testing for Down syndrome. I thought it a very stupid image for the story.

Genetic code as encyclopedia set

I think it’s obvious that my graphic design skills are limited. Nonetheless, several of the graphics created this year I thought demonstrated how far simple cut-and-paste techniques can go for illustrating a point, like this one commenting on the father of PGD’s analogy that the human genetic code is like a set of encyclopedias.

Midlife DS Graphic

This chart of intersecting lines was prompted by a leader in the Down syndrome community. She was lamenting that just as all the reforms fought for in the ’60’s, ’70’s, and ’80’s were resulting in the first generations of individuals with Down syndrome truly flourishing, the advancements in prenatal testing is enabling a trend where fewer children will be born to enjoy the best time ever in human history to be born with Down syndrome.

verinata months ahead of the curve

This image accompanied a marketing piece by Verinata, the NIPS lab for verifi. I still await the answer of why it is a selling point that verifi can return its test results months ahead of the curve of a woman’s pregnancy showing.

Photo credit: Steven Senne, Associated Press

Photo credit: Steven Senne, Associated Press

Researchers this year announced possible cognitive treatments for Down syndrome based on injections of a compound called “Sonic Hedgehog.” Recalling a discussion about what this compound does in embryo development, I found this rather surprising image of a cat with two faces–a Janus cat. This image is what I see in my mind’s eye whenever I now read of potential treatments.

NIPS Holy Grail

I simply thought this image was a bit of whimsy. ACOG’s former ethics committee chair wrote a piece in the Huffington Post about how NIPS was the “holy grail.” It made me think of the third installment of Indiana Jones’s movies.

Fig. 2 NIPT & Inverse relationship

Fig. 2 NIPT & Inverse relationship

Whenever a comparison of two effects is described as a “direct relationship” or an “inverse relationship,” I think of which way the two arrows are going. This graphic sought to illustrate a surprising direct relationship between increased NIPS uptake likely resulting in increased risk of loss from diagnostic testing, due to the inverse relationship NIPS has with the number of invasive procedures that will be performed.

SB34 (2)

Probably the image of my proudest moment from 2013: Governor Beshear signing into law Kentucky’s Down Syndrome Information Act.

Fig. 2 Implantation of embryo

Fig. 2 Implantation of emba

Attending a medical conference this year, I learned how the newest prenatal test for Down syndrome does not test for cell-free fetal DNA, but rather placental DNA. I did so while learning terms like syncytiotrophoblast. And, if I’m having to learn that term, I figure I should share it with others, as well.

I hope you, too, have enjoyed the images that accompanied the posts this year. I recently started a Pinterest board sharing these posts, which also displays the blog images in an interesting arrangement. Feel free to visit the Pinboard. If I left off a favorite image of yours from this post, please share in the comments below. After all, the screenshot of Ashton Kutcher didn’t make the list.


  1. […] the year in review, this second installment will cover the most read blog posts of […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: