Genetics


Artist Struggles To Overcome Pain With Paint

By Elisha Sauers

The canvases lining Ted Meyer’s studio seem too small for their contents. The jumbled skeletons they depict, upside-down and askew, resemble boxes full of bones dug up by an archaeologist and haphazardly stowed away for later scrutiny.Read More


Genetic Diseases? Yes. But Must We Call Them ‘Jewish’?

By Sander Gilman

The extraordinary science of genetics, which is in the process of describing the very nature of our natures, is still in its infancy. The claims made for genetics, a science as narcissistic as any infant, generally outstrip the science’s ability to define or treat genetic illnesses. Yet there is an undeniable power in the notion that some people carry within them the seeds of their own and their children’s illnesses. But there is also a risk: In a world of interrelated databanks and insurance that can be canceled at a moment’s notice, would anyone want to be labeled as “at risk”? Is there any benefit to being a member of a collective that is seen as suffering from its very own genetic diseases?Read More


Striking a Chord for Crohn’s Disease Research

By Mordechai Shinefield

As a member of the band Pearl Jam, the guitarist Mike McCready has played a good number of memorable concerts, but a recent show in Portland, Ore., hit especially close to home. The July 20 concert, at which Pearl Jam shared the stage with the indie-rock trio Sleater-Kinney and the comedian David Cross, was a benefit for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America; McCready himself suffers from Crohn’s disease, a digestive disorder that afflicts an estimated 500,000 Americans.Read More


Blogging Through A Tough Battle

By Marc Tracy

Three young girls with juvenile Tay-Sachs — Dakota Bihn, Alexis Markowich, and Jashaia Small — are currently receiving umbilical-cord-blood therapy at Duke University Medical Center. The girls are under the care of Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, who, as the Forward reported last year, has already performed cord-blood therapy on children with Krabbé disease.Read More


Israel Leads the Way on Stem Cells

By Joshua Yaffa

For people who suffer from familial dysautonomia (FD), hope recently came in the form of an Israeli chicken egg.Read More


Canavan Researcher Sees Future in Stem Cells

By Joshua Yaffa

As a groundbreaking clinical trial examining the use of gene therapy in treating Canavan disease winds to a close, the country’s leading researcher into the hereditary brain disorder is now looking to stem-cell therapy to treat the disease.Read More


How Do Sephardic Jews Figure Into The Genetic Equation?

By Schelly Talalay Dardashti

When Hispanic women in Colorado’s San Luis Valley were shown to carry a high frequency of the Ashkenazic breast-cancer gene, some genetic experts began to wonder.Read More


Scientists Meet To Discuss Rare Disorder

By Mark I. Levenstein

In what was the first meeting of its kind, respected neurologists from around the globe held a conference August 1 at which they committed themselves to increasing awareness of adult polyglucosan body disease, a rare genetic disorder occurring primarily among Ashkenazic Jews.Read More


Tay-Sachs Drug Trial Yields ‘Neutral’ Results

By Marc Tracy

Two clinical studies for the treatment of late-onset Tay-Sachs with Zavesca, a drug used to treat Gaucher disease, produced neutral results — “a scientific way of saying that it didn’t work,” said Kim Crawford, director of member services for the National Tay-Sachs & Allied Diseases Association.Read More


Doctor Looks to Ashkenazim in Search for Schizophrenia Cure

By Lea Winerman

Epidemiologist Ann Pulver found her research calling early. As an undergraduate at Boston University, she worked with schizophrenia patients and saw firsthand the devastation the disease can cause. She decided then to devote her career to fighting it.Read More





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  • PHOTOS: Hundreds of protesters marched through lower Manhattan yesterday demanding an end to American support for Israel’s operation in #Gaza.
  • Does #Hamas have to lose for there to be peace? Read the latest analysis by J.J. Goldberg.
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
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