Genetics


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


Stem Cell Exports to Germany Causing Controversy in Israel

Two Israeli institutions, Haifa’s Technion Israel Institute of Technology and Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, began exporting stem cells culled from human embryos to Germany this year, arousing a storm of controversy within both countries’ scientific and medical communities.Because stem cells have enormous medical potential, many scientists,Read More


Doctor Writes ‘Epic Saga’ Of Jews in Medicine

By Max Gross

As Frank Heynick was nearing the completion of his gigantic tome, “Jews and Medicine: An Epic Saga,” he came across the name of an important doctor, George Sternberg, whom he had neglected to mention.The discovery of Sternberg did not make Heynick happy.“I got through a lot of trimming to keep it at 600 pages,” Heynick said. The ideaRead More


Colon Cancer Seen Linked to Bloom Gene

By Ross Schneiderman

Ashkenazi Jews are two to three times more likely to develop colon cancer if they carry the gene for Bloom syndrome, according to a September 2002 study by American and Israeli researchers.Dr. Kenneth Offit, senior author of the study and chief of the clinical genetics service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, saidRead More


Procedure Offers Hope for Families

By Rachel Zuckerman

Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, a fairly new procedure that allows embryos created outside the uterus to be screened for genetic diseases, has been embraced by some Jewish couples who carry the mutations for diseases such as Tay-Sachs. But even as the procedure, known as PGD, offers these families the hope of healthy children — and in theoryRead More


Finding Your Roots

The search for Jewish roots in Germany may be easier now, thanks to a new research center that opened last fall.The Ephraim Gustav Hoenlein Genealogy Project is designed to help Jews of Germanic descent trace their origins. It is a joint project of the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation and the Jewish Community of Würzburg.“This will hopefullyRead More


A New Treatment for Gaucher? Compound Intrigues

By Lea Winerman

Researchers have developed a chemical compound that could lead to a new treatment for Gaucher disease, the most common genetic disease among Ashkenazi Jews, which causes problems including anemia, poor blood clotting, an enlarged liver and spleen, bone damage and, in the most serious cases, neurological problems.The newly discovered compoundRead More


Who Gets Tested for BRCA, and Why?

By Adam Marcus

Many Jewish women of Ashkenazi origin face an increased risk of inherited breast and ovarian cancers, the result of mutations in two genes that became relatively common to Eastern Europeans. Women with bad copies of either gene, called BRCA1 and BRCA2, have a lifetime risk of breast cancer that approaches 85%. Their overall risk of ovarianRead More


Surgery Promises Relief for Dystonia

By Ethan Porter

When Peter Cohen entered a public swimming pool recently, he was greeted with several rounds of applause. Cohen is not a person whom one would normally expect to be met with such a reception; he has never been an Olympian, nor has he ever held public office.Merely attempting to move about freely in a pool was regarded as heroic, because, as isRead More


DNA Bank Dilemma: Who Owns the Data?

Two years ago, the Israeli company Genomica embarked on a comprehensive and unprecedented study in which DNA samples were collected from thousands of patients to build a private DNA bank for the purpose of finding new disease-causing genes.The establishment of the private DNA bank caught the Health Ministry off guard; no public debate had beenRead More


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