Genetics 2009


The Other Jewish Genetic Diseases

By Talia Bloch

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.Read More


For Four Decades, a Doctor’s Legacy of Life

By Micah Kelber

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.Read More


In Jewish Genetic History, the Known Unknowns

By David B. Goldstein

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.Read More


Gaucher Patients Cope With Drug Shortage, as New Treatments Beckon

By Rebecca Dube

For thousands of people with Gaucher disease, the most common genetic disorder affecting Jews, the next few months will be challenging.Read More


Israeli Scientist Adapts Antibiotic That May Fight Genetic Disease

By Talia Bloch

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.Read More


New Niemann-Pick Mouse Engineered

By Michael Casper

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.Read More


In Druze Genes, a Look Back at the Distant Past

By Nathan Jeffay

Who knew that Israel’s Druze had been holding a key to understanding an important dimension of human history?Read More


After Late-Onset Tay-Sachs Trial Is Pulled, Parents Pull Together

By Joy Resmovits

Perhaps it’s the urgency of Tay-Sachs that brought parents to action when a pharmaceutical company allowed a promising clinical trial to languish.Read More


Plaintiffs in Breast Cancer Gene Suit Hope To Overturn Patent Policy

By Nadja Spiegelman

‘If you walk out into the street and tell someone that a company owns their genes, they’ll look at you strangely,” said Barbara Brenner, executive director of Breast Cancer Action. “But that is exactly what has happened.”Read More


Living With LOTS, S.F. Woman Won’t Let Disease Win

By Joy Resmovits

Conventional wisdom dictates that runners, like most athletes, improve with experience. A promising freshman cross-country runner might become the school track star by senior year.Read More





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  • 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."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
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