Daily Smart Fact

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Posts Tagged ‘babies

Daily Smart Fact #23: The Mongolian Spot is Most Prevalent in Native American Babies

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Key Takeaway: If you have never heard of or seen a “Mongolian spot” you are probably not Asian, Native American, or Latino.  The Mongolian spot is a dark bruise-like pigmentation that occurs usually above the buttocks of babies with darker pigment.  Sometimes these spots are mistaken for bruises.

My 3 year old nephew who is 3/4 Korean and 1/4 Japanese has the cutest little butt with a perfectly blue dot right above his crack.  I know, lovely picture, but as a biased Auntie I find it absolutely adorable.  Anywho, as  Korean, I figured the Mongolian spot was common knowledge for people; Asian babies have a blue dot above their butt.

What I didn’t realize was that the Mongolian spot, also known as the “blue spot”, isn’t prevalent only in East Asian babies.  In fact, over 90% of Native American babies have the spot, followed by East Asian babies (80%) and Latino babies (70%). [Source: Dr. Greene]

“The Mongolian spot is a congenital developmental condition exclusively involving the skin. The blue colour is caused by melanocytes,melanin-containing cells, that are deep under the skin. The spots are completely harmless.”

These spots usually go away by the age of 2 years old and completely go away by the age of 5 years old.  Because the spot can sometimes look like bruises, there have been stories where babies have actually been removed from their homes because of mistaken child abuse.

The interesting thing is that my other nephew and niece, who’s 1/2 Korean and 1/2 White, DON’T have the Mongolian spot.  We joke that they truly aren’t Korean but perhaps their skin is too fair for the Mongolian spot.   Although the irony is that they speak more Korean than the rest of our family!

Anyway, for those of you who had never heard of the Mongolian spot, I hope this post was enlightening.  For those of you who thought Mongolian spots were only for East Asian babies, I hope you learned something new.

Written by Bea

June 10, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Posted in Biology

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