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December 09, 1988 - Image 14

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-12-09

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

FRONTLI NES

Happy 60th, Mickey!
Seiko's celebrating in style.

h"

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Seiko introduces a special, limited edition collection of Mickey Mouse
watches inspired by the popular 1930's Mickey Mouse watch.
Each is a collector's item, available for men and
ladies with a brown padded leather strap or
a gold-tone SEIKOFLEX stretch bracelet.
Every watch is engraved with
a commemorative logo
on the back.

A blood screening at Sinai Hospital. The Tay-Sachs screenings will use blood samples drawn from the fingertip.

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ROBYN KLEEREKOPER

Special to The Jewish News

HOLIDAY HRS.: M - F 10 - 7, Sat. 10 - 6, Sun. 12 - 5

".S E IKO)

Orthodox, Non-Orthodox Tests
Are Scheduled For Tay-Sachs

DESIGNS IN DECORATOR
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Always At A Great Discount

A

local committee has
begun organizing a
special Tay-Sachs
disease screening targeting
mainly Orthodox Jews. On
the same day — Sinai
Hospital, Wayne State
University and The Jewish
News are organizing a
community-wide screening at

several locations.

The screenings are part of a
nationwide effort to eliminate

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14 FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1988

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the fatal childhood disease
which affects the Ashkenazi
Jewish community. Thy-Sachs
is one of several genetic
diseases whose occurrence in
Ashkenazi Jews is 10 times
higher than in the general
population or in Sephardi
Jews.
Robin Gold, a genetics
counselor at Detroit's Sinai
Hospital, says babies born to
parents who have the Thy-
Sachs gene "are born ap-
parently normal and progress
for the first six months or so,
before things begin to go
wrong. Then they start to lose
all the abilities they had by
that stage. They have
seizures, and go blind and
deaf. Their life expectancy is
about four or five years of
age."

Because of Orthodox
Judaism's views on abortion,
the Orthodox screening will
differ from the general
screening. Orthodox Jews in-
terpret Jewish law as forbid-
ding abortion. If an Orthodox
couple finds that the women

is expecting a Tay-Sachs baby,
abortion is not an option and
the baby must be carried to
full term.
The Orthodox community
in New York, and now
Detroit, have therefore ap-
proached the concept of Thy-
Sachs prevention as a pre-
nupital issue.
According to Rabbi Shaiall
Zachariash of Congregation
Shomrey Emunah, "Every-
one who takes the (Orthodox)
screening is given a number,
like a serial number, that is
assigned to that individual
alone. Unless marriage is be-
ing considered, the results are
not learned by the individual.

"When a couple is ready for
marriage, their numbers are
submitted to the organiza-
tion's central file. The
response will come back tell-
ing them if they can marry
without fear of producing a
'Pay-Sachs infant, in effect giv-
ing them the green light. If
both are carriers, they are ad-
vised to not marry."
If only one of the couple is
a carrier, the program does
not give out this information;
they are told only that they
may marry. If they change
their minds and decide to
marry others, each couple
would have to resubmit their
nubmers to the central file for
a check.
Says Zachariash, "'Iblling a
person they are a carrier is an
unnecessary burden if their
proposed spouse is not one."
The screening is based on
Chevra Dor Yeshovim, a
Brooklyn, N.Y., group that

has been active for five years.
Blood sample results and the
central registry will be kept
in New York.
Persons going through the
community-wide screenings
will be notified of the results
of their tests within a few
weeks. Locations for the
testing and cost to in-
dividuals are being
determined.
"We are attempting to
target a very different group,"
says Rabbi Zachariash. In an
effort to reach-observant Jews
before they become parents,
letters about the Orthodox
screening are being sent to
synagogues, temples, area
yeshivot, United Hebrew
Schools' Community Jewish
High School and Hillel Day
School.
A public lecture about the
screenings and Tay-Sachs
disease will be held 8 p.m.
Monday at the Jimmy Pren-
tis Morris Jewish Communi-
ty Center in Oak Park.
Speaker will be Dr. Ralph
Cash, who was involved in
earlier community screenings
conducted by Sinai and
Henry Ford hospitals.
Ford Hospital's head of
genetics, Dr. Lester Weiss,
suggests that the best time to
be tested for the Tay-Sachs
enzyme is before getting preg-
nant. Pregnancy and some
medications can affect the
test results.
Persons who were tested for
Thy-Sachs five or six years
ago should be re-tested, Dr.
Weiss suggests, because new
procedures are more accurate.

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