It has been a year filled with anxiety, fear and disappointment for sufferers from Gaucher disease, who are continuing to deal with the fallout from last year’s shutdown of a pharmaceutical plant.
The Social Security Administration has added two genetic diseases that affect Ashkenazi Jews to its Compassionate Allowances list, expediting the awarding of disability aid to sufferers and their families.
A list of places you can go for support and help
The genetics blog at DiscoverMagazine.com, Gene Expression, has an eye-opening post peeling away some of the more intriguing layers in the big new study of Jewish genetic patterns that was published June 3 in the American Journal of Human Genetics and reported the next day in the Forward’s own Shmooze blog.
Randall Belinfante was a bit baffled. When he and his wife went to take blood tests in preparation for starting a family in 2003, he discovered that the screening included a panel of tests for Ashkenazic Jewish genetic disorders. But Belinfante is Sephardic.
Forty years ago, when Dr. Felicia Axelrod began caring for patients with familial dysautonomia at the New York University Medical Center, 50% of parents who had children with the rare genetic disorder could expect to bury them before they reached the age of 5.
A team of researchers in Israel has made a breakthrough in modifying an until-now highly toxic antibiotic so that it might one day be used to repair defective genes that cause diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Usher syndrome, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and even some cancers.
For thousands of people with Gaucher disease, the most common genetic disorder affecting Jews, the next few months will be challenging.
The Jews have been a continuous feature of human history for at least 3,000 years. As much as perhaps any other group, the Jews have shaped and influenced the Western world, from antiquity to the present.
It is with good reason that Edward Schuchman calls Niemann-Pick Disease type A a “very, very challenging disease.” The neurodegenerative disorder is rare, kills those who have it by age 2 or 3, and has no known cure. But in May, Schuchman and his research team at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York announced a breakthrough in their work on the disease.