Monday, 15 March 2010

Did Sarah Palin name Trig after his genetic condition, Trisomy G?

I found two videos about Sarah Palin and Trig. They were made by her fans, but the content is relevant to illustrate some of her motivations regarding Trig's central role in her agenda and in the choice of name for her prop-baby.

One of our readers, comeonpeople, sent us a guest post:

I’ve been pediatric nurse for 25 years and have cared for many little one’s with Trisomy 21 or Down Syndrome during my career. My specialty is pediatric oncology and, unfortunately, children with Trisomy 21 are at an increased risk for leukemias. So, I have cared for many Trisomy 21 children with leukemia. However, I had never heard the term Trisomy G in association with Trisomy 21. I had never professionally encountered the term Trig babies. I had many emotions when I read in Palingates’ comments that perhaps Trig Palin’s name came from his chromosomal abnormality…..incredulity, sorrow and anger being the most prominent.

I did some research on this subject. I asked a doctor where I work who is familiar with Trisomy 21. This doctor confirmed for me that Tri-G is another name for DS. When naming our 23 pairs of human chromosomes (Chromosomal nomenclature) each chromosome is given a letter and a number. Chromosomes 21 and 22 are assigned the letter G. Thus, when there are three chromosomes 21 due to the non dysjuction that leads to Down Syndrome, the abnormality is termed TRI-G or Trisomy 21. There are medical references and genetic references supporting these terms.

Then I did a quick Pubmed literature search using the keywords "Trisomy G Down Syndrome" and got 41 hits of articles from the 1960s-1970s from all over the World which interchanged the terms TRI-G with Down Syndrome and the no longer used term Mongoloid. The literature search confirms that TRI-G is another name for Trisomy 21 and Down Syndrome, but it is less frequently used in the 21st century.

This is for real. In the medical genetic world, Tri-G and Trisomy 21 are equivalent names for Down Syndrome. Tri-G is not widely used anymore, but in the last century it was apparently mainstream in the medical world.

What are the statistical chances that Sarah would unintentionally name her child with Down Syndrome with another name for Down Syndrome? The answer has to be astronomical and I, for one, do not believe this is a chance happening. Also, too, if she wanted to name him after Norse mythology (yeah right – my husband is 100% Norwegian and never heard of the mythological figure Trygve), then why not just go ahead and name him Trygve?

No, Sarah thinks she’s cute and clever and doesn’t get that those of us that DO get it think she is beyond reprehensible.

In addition to this research, a prominent doctor in the fields of pediatrics and genetics was contacted about it. Unfortunately, the doctor in question didn't wish to be named, but provided further references about the nomenclature used in the classification of chromosomes.

Here's a table showing the classification of chromosomes:

We also looked at the name Trig and how it compares to the Norwegian spellings of it.

Sarah Palin claimed herself that her son's name was Old Norse for "true." She is not entirely wrong, though the spelling she chose is wrong. Trygg is derived from the Old Norse tryggr meaning "trusty; true or safe." Trygve itself is just another form of the name, though a more popular version in Norway. The name appears in the Heimskringla, as the name of Tryggve Olafsson (d.963), a ruthless viking who was known for ravaging the spoils and countryside of Ireland and Scotland. He himself eventually met a bloody death when he was killed by Harald Greyhide.

Tryggve was not a mythological figure, he was a real bloodthirsty viking. Not a very inspiring character, but the name is relatively popular in Scandinavia.

Sarah Palin has an inclination to choose unusual names for her offspring, always linking the names to some place, event, sport, even airplanes... Had she chosen Tryg or Trygg, it wouldn't have been out of place in "unusualness" and it would have avoided these questions about Trisomy G.

Sarah Palin may have read "Tri-G" somewhere on somebody's medical notes and thought it was cute, but it wouldn't be seen as cute by the rest of the world. According to Going Rogue, it was God's idea. From the letter Sarah Palin wrote to family and close friends, in the voice of God:

"Then, I put the idea in your hearts that his name should be "Trig," because it's so fitting, with two Norse meanings: "True" and "Brave Victory"...

God must have forgotten that the Norwegian spelling is not Trig and to add the medical meaning of it, which is spelled this way and is "so fitting".

Only in Sarah Palin's mind could she have come up with the strange idea to name her child so awkwardly...


I consulted several translation websites and none of them translated "brave victory", "true" or "truth" as anything remotely resembling "trig". Examples:

Of course, these sites don't translate into Old Norse, but the difference is staggering...

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