The Senate this July voted unanimously to name September National Tay-Sach’s Awareness Month. The resolution was introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and co-sponsored by Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana. At this point, Tay-Sachs, a hereditary degenerative neurological disease, has no cure. The National Tay-Sachs & Allied Diseases Association, Inc., the oldest genetic disease organization in America, has endorsed Brown’s resolution.
One of the largest collaborative research teams ever assembled has concluded a decade-long study that may unlock the secrets behind Crohn’s disease.
In an article she wrote this past spring for the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, bioethicist Laurie Zoloth approached from a Jewish perspective the moral choices posed by advances in genetic and medical research. While acknowledging the public sense of “moral panic” at the thought of genetic enhancement, she argues that the commandment to heal, the priority of saving a life and the belief that the natural world is as yet unfinished have provided a justified context for experimental therapy, including genetic research, in Judaism. While we must be concerned about “ethical boundaries” for genetic enhancements, “[h]umans are mandated to actively use and control the natural world, to act as partners in God’s creation, and to do tikkun olam (repairing the world),” she writes.
A broad screening program in Israel for Type 1 Gaucher disease, the most common of the Jewish genetic diseases, is proving controversial, Israeli researchers noted in a September 2007 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
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, “marrying within.”
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Beautiful paintings and other works of art line the room. A rapt and attentive audience looks upward at the sea of color, expressing the personalities and feelings of those struggling with what it means to have a genetic disease.
Researchers have discovered that they can help alleviate some of the symptoms of familial dysautonomia through diet.
The 38-year-old Dysautonomia Treatment and Evaluation Center at the New York University Medical Center has, in a few months’ time, undergone a vast expansion.
Diana Muir Appelbaum and Paul S. Appelbaum have done a fascinating round-up for The Jerusalem Post of what genetics research reveals about the origins of various Jewish sub-populations.