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July 23, 1976 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1976-07-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

y -
;
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

38 Friday , 1u1y.1 23, 1476'

Tay-Sachs: A Fatal Disease That Can Be Detected

Bobby was born beautiful
and healthy. By the time he
has five months old, he
could laugh, turn over and
sit up. At six months, how-
ever, he began to regress
and Bobby died when he
was four.
Bobby was a victim of
Tay-Sachs disease, a genetic
disease afflicting babies
born primarily to Ashkena-
zic Jews — those of Eastern
and Central European heri-
tage. Today, the tragedy in
Bobby's family could be
avoided because of a screen-
ing program for prospective
parents.
The testing project, which
is supported with funds
from the Jewish Commu-
nity Foundation (a commit-
tee of the United Jewish

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Charities) with the coopera-
tion of the March of Dimes,
screens child-bearing-age
adults to detect the presence
of a crucial body enzyme,
hexosaminidase (Hex A)
that leads to Tay-Sachs dis-
ease in the children of the
carriers.
An- apparently healthy
baby with the defective
gene is stricken — at ap-
proximately six months —
with progressive loss of
physical skills, blindness,
mental retardation and
coma. The progress of the
disease is irreversible,
ending in death by the
fourth or fifth year.
"The only cure for Tay-
Sachs is the prevention of
the disease," says Dr. Ralph
Cash, chairman of pedia-
trics at Sinai Hospital,
which has undertaken the
three-year screening pro-
gram together with the Ge-
netic Counseling Clinic of
Henry Ford Hospital.
"The only way to prevent
the disease is to detect the
couples who are both Tay-
Sachs carriers and can
transmit the disease to their
offspring," Dr. Cash said.
A simple blood test —
quick and painless — can be
analyzed to identify a Tav-
Sachs carrier.
According to Norma Sil-
ver, associate administra-
tor at Sinai and coordina-
tor of the Tay-Sachs
program for the hospital, a
total of 3,039 Jews in the
Detroit area have been

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In June, 1974 Alfred L. Deutsch, past president of
the United Jewish Charities, watched with Norma Sil-
ver and Dr. Hyman S. Mellen, as Edward A. Lumberg,
who was the Jewish Welfare Federation's Junior Divi-
sion president at the time, was tested at a Tay-Sachs
screening project at the United Hebrew Schools.

* *

tested in four screening
sessions since June, 1974.
The testing turned up 146
carriers. In that number
were five - married couples
who were expecting chil-
dren at that time.
All five pregnant women
received a test of the am-
niotic fluid called amniocen-
tesis, which identifies a fe-
tus developing Tay-Sachs
disease. Other genetic ab-
normalties, and even the sex
of the unborn child can be
detected by this process.
Dr. Lester Weiss, scien-
tific director of the Genetic
Counseling Clinic at Henry
Ford Hospital, who oversees
the program's scientific di-
rection, believes that the

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eight days of screening held
in 1974 and 1975 were very
successful, but sees a
definite need to continue the
screening annually.
"We feel that every young
Jewish couple should be
tested. We would like to pre-
vent further occurrences of
this catastrophic disease by
also providing genetic coun-
seling to affected persons."
"Couples can come to the
Genetic Counseling Clinic at
Henry Ford and discuss the
alternatives with counse-
lors. Their decesion whether
to have another child will be
made with the knowledge
that they need never have a
Tay-Sachs baby," Dr. Weiss
said.

To: The Jewish News

Abba Eban Says World Jewry
Assistance to Israel Is Lacking

JERUSALEM (JTA) —
Former Foreign Minister
Abba Eban said that world
Jewry has become remiss in
helping Israel bear its many
burdens. For the first time
in the history of Israel,
Diaspora Jewry has not
done enough for Israel, the
former diplomat, now a

) Bergen-Belsen,
Passover, 1944

Our Father in heaven,
behold it is evident and
known to thee that it is our
desire to do thy will and to
celebrate the festival of Pas-
sover by eating matza and
by observing the prohibition
of leavened food. But our
heart is pained that the en-
slavement prevents us and
we are in danger of our
lives. Behold, we are pre-
pared and ready to fulfill
thy commandment: "And ye
shall live by them and not
die by them."
We pray to thee that thou
mayest keep us alive and
preserve us and redeem us
speedily so that we may ob-
serve they statutes and do
thy will and serve thee with
'a perfect heart. Amen.
— Jewish Prisoners
Bergen-Belsen

Second Aliya

IN
OAK PARK
23133 COOLIDGE

"They may decide to
Dr. Cash says that the
adopt and have no more nat- samples of the blood from
ural children, or they may each person tested are
decide to have each preg- frozen should researchers
nancy monitored by amni- develop other tests to de-
ocentesis."
tect carriers of other di-
According to Dr. Cash, seases common to Jews,
the program's success was such as dysautonomia. "If
possible only because of they should come up with
the enthusiastic support such a test, we will al-
and assistance of medical ready have the samples."
personnel and volunteers
Rep. James J. Blanchard
from many community or-
ganizations in the Detroit (D-Pleasant Ridge) was the
co-sponsor of legislation
metropolitan area.
that will grant $90 million
"More than 50 doctors, over the next three years for
nurses and technicians genetic research which in-
worked without pay as part cludes the study of Tay
of the Tay-Sachs screening Sachs. Other genetic d
team," Cash said. "Volun- seases to be studied are si(
teers from many commu- kle cell anemia, hemophilia —
nity organizations promoted and muscular dystrophy.
the program, assisted with —
The law, the National
the testing and provided
baby-sitting services for Disease Screening and
Counseling Act, grants
program participants."
Chairman of the program funds for establishment of
volunteers is Micky Lakin, training programs for ge-
assisted by members of netic counselors, the devel-
Bnai Brith Girls, the Junior opment of programs to edu-
Division of the Jewish Wel- cate practicing physicians
fare Federation, the Wom- and other health profession-
en's Guild of Sinai Hospital als, and the development of
and members of participat- testing programs.
ing synagogues. For further information
Volunteers will be asked concerning the Tay-Sachs
to continue their efforts in screening program sched-
another series of screenings uled in October, contact
in October, Mrs. Lakin said. Norma Silver at Sinai Hos-
The Jewish Community pital, 272-6000. Questions
Foundation will again pro- about genetic counseling
vide funding for the screen- can be directed to Dr. Weiss
ing. Donations, however, at the Genetic Counseling
will be accepted to help de- Center at Henry Ford Hos-
fray expenses.

A new wave of immigra-
tion, the Second Aliya, be-
gan in 1903 and 1904 when
Jewish communities in var-
ious parts of Russia were
swept by pogroms.

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Labor member of the Knes-
set, told the closing session
of a 10-day United Jewish
Appeal study mission here.
The mission, representing
the top leadership of the
Rochester, N.Y. Jewish Fed-
eration, was headed by Dr.
Morris Shapiro and Bert
Rapowitz.
Eban questioned whether
solidarity demonstrations
for Israel in various parts of
the world were a prelude to
concrete action or a substi-
tute for it.
He charged that there is
no involvement on the part
of world Jewry with Is-
rael's demographic predic-
ament, and even in the
economic arena, money
raised for Israel does not
amount to even 10 percent
of Israel's annual require-
ments.
He suggested that every
increase in taxes in Israel
should be met by additional
efforts by Jews overseas.

Southfield, Mich. 4-8075

WM JUST

From

Paste in old label

T O :

Belgian Committee
Seeks M.E. Peace

BRUSSELS (JTA) — The
"Jewish Movement for an
Israeli-Arab Peace" estab-
lished a Belgian committee
to promote its ideas.
The movement advocates
an Israeli withdrawal from
the occupied territories be-
lieving "peace to be more
important than occupied
land." The committee has
not announced the names of
its Belgian members.

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