Genetics


Annual Guide to Jewish Genetic Diseases

The Forward presents this section to provide information on some of the more serious Jewish genetic diseases. There are about 20 “Ashkenazic diseases,” not counting the higher rates of at least four cancer-related genes. The diseases are more prevalent in the Eastern European Jewish population because of centuries of endogamy — literally,Read More


Israelis Champion American Stem-cell Legislation

Dr. Shulamit Levenberg pulls out a dish of human embryonic stem cells from an incubator and carefully places them under a microscope to see how they are beginning to take form as human tissue.Levenberg, a researcher at the Technion University in Haifa, is working on cutting-edge tissue engineering research with the help of human embryonic stemRead More


Truckers Spread Message of Niemann-Pick Awareness

By Jacob Savage

With their stereotypically gruff demeanor, truck drivers are not often known for their charitable efforts. But in Fort Atkinson, Wis., truckers are playing a key role in raising public awareness of Niemann-Pick disease, a debilitating genetic disorder that often kills its victims before they reach adulthood.W & A Distribution Services, aRead More


‘Orphan Drugs’ Orphaned by Budget Cuts

By Ethan Porter

Advocates for sufferers of rare diseases are working to ensure passage of newly introduced legislation that would counteract a recent administrative action they say deprives those with such maladies of vital medicines.The Medicare Patient Access to Drugs for Rare Diseases Act of 2003, introduced in the House of Representatives July 10, is intendedRead More


Annual Guide to Jewish Genetic Diseases

The Forward presents this section to provide information on some of the more serious Jewish genetic diseases. There are about 20 “Ashkenazic diseases,” not counting the higher rates of at least four cancer-related genes. The diseases are more prevalent in the Eastern European Jewish population because of centuries of endogamy, literally,Read More


LOTS Sufferers Combat Ignorance as Well as Symptoms

By Rachel Zuckerman

When people find out Shirley Webb has late onset Tay-Sachs disease (LOTS), their reactions have ranged from “But you’re older than 5 years old!” to “Why are you alive?” Once, at work, someone saw her pull away from her desk in her wheelchair and exclaimed, “I didn’t know you were crippled!”At 66, Webb, a co-founder of theRead More


Drug Trial Brings Hope to Late Onset Tay-Sachs Patients

By Rachel Zuckerman

Doctors are experimenting with an oral medication known as Zavesca as a possible treatment for late onset Tay-Sachs (LOTS) disease, it was reported at a conference in Philadelphia last month.New York University School of Medicine and Cleveland University Hospital both launched trials using the drug, whose chemical name is OGT918 or miglustat, onRead More


How a Mother Overcame a Malady

By Andrea Schleider

Kathryn Goldstein* of Monroe, N.Y., has no medical background, but this proud Orthodox mother of 11 has become an expert on one Jewish genetic disease. Three of her children were diagnosed with the genetic disorder, congenital hyperinsulinism.In 1978, after a healthy full-term pregnancy, Kathryn gave birth to Amanda, her seventh child. Two hoursRead More


Usher Gene Discovered

By Lea Winerman

Scientists have pinpointed the gene mutation responsible for most cases of Usher syndrome type 1 in Ashkenazi Jews. The syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes deafness from birth and progressive blindness beginning before age 10.The discovery, first reported in The New England Journal of Medicine in April, will allow doctors to more easily andRead More


Treatment Seen for Familial Dysautonomia

By Jonathan Friedman

Two New York doctors have discovered a treatment that is raising hope for sufferers of one of the Jewish genetic diseases.Sylvia Anderson and Berish Rubin, both of the Laboratory for Familial Dysautonomia Research at Fordham University, announced in May that a variant of vitamin E, tocotrienols, is effective as a treatment for familialRead More


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