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December 29, 1995 - Image 84

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1995-12-29

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

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•West

The tests seek to determine
whether parents are asympto-
matic "carriers" of the mutated CF
gene. In the Roths' case, both
mother and father are carriers —
a necessary condition for passing
on the disease.
Although Mrs. Roth, in her 40s,
underwent a battery of tests be-
fore her pregnancy, she did not
know to ask specifically for the CF
test. It was, therefore, not admin-
istered.
"I told them (specialists at a
nearby hospital) to test me for
whatever they thought I needed,"
she says. "CF testing was not ever
mentioned. Only five states in the
country have mandatory testing,
and Michigan is not one of them."
Pre-screenings, though impor-
tant, won't solve the problem. Cur-
rently, scientists are exploring the
"gene therapy" approach to cur-
ing CF. It entails the transfer of a
normal CF gene, attached to a
simple cold virus, into the dam-
aged airways of the patient.
The virus is altered so it can no
longer replicate and spread, but
the normal CF gene still can pro-
duce the proteins necessary for
healthy (not sticky) secretions in
the lungs.
The gene therapy approach has
met with moderate success. Dr.
Simon says scientists are having
a difficult time administering suf-
ficient amounts of the healthy
gene, and some patients have ex-
perienced irritations, most likely
due to the virus. Also, the thera-
peutic effect is short-lived.
"Some of the other treatments
could come within the decade, but
gene therapy could take a while,"
Dr. Simon says. "Only time will
tell what impact it has."
Pulmozyme — which Ari and
Mr. Levine both take — is hailed
by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
as "the first new drug therapy for
CF in 30 years." Approved by the
Food and Drug Administration, it

helps thin mucus, reduces the
number of respiratory infections
and improves functioning of the
lungs.
The Roths are among thou-
sands involved with the Cystic Fi-
brosis Foundation, based in
Bethesda, Md. The Foundation,
established in 1955, raises mon-
ey to find a cure for the disease. It
also serves as an advocacy group
for those whose insurance com-
panies won't cover costs for the ex-
pense treatments.
As members of the Foundation
in Michigan, the Roths, along with
Claire Chambers of Bloonifield
Hills, helped co-chair a November
benefit at the Ritz Carlton in
Dearborn. The evening brought
in $49,000.
Mr. Levine also supports CF re-
search. In fact, when he moved to
Michigan for his job at Chrysler,
he came with several goals. One
was to volunteer for the Founda-
tion.
Another was to serve as an ad-
visor for BBYO. Still another was
to become more active with Fed-
eration's Young Adult Division,
Hillel of Metro Detroit and the
B'nai B'rith Leadership Network.
He's achieved all of the above,
but his pastimes don't end there.
Mr. Levine plays tennis every
Tuesday night, and he describes
his social calendar as "complete-
ly packed."
"Right now in my life," he says
"I'm doing exactly what I want to
do. I've been keeping an impres-
sive schedule. I don't mean to
brag, but I've been really burning
the candle at both ends.
"What frustrates me? I don't
know. I'm just happy. The people
who look for what's wrong in their
lives really upset me, I guess.
There's too much to be happy
about. There really is.
"Maybe I'm just lucky. The only
thing I have to complain about is
complainers." ❑

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Gentle-Impact Exercise
Promotes Bone Density

j

JACK WILLIAMS SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

1

ention "weight-bearing
exercise" and most peo-
ple envision mobilizing
major muscles — the
kind of call to arms that taxes the
body to the bone.
The fact is, though, that some-
thing as gentle as regular ball-

M

Jack Williams is a writer for

Copley News Service.

room dancing or walldng can pro-
mote the bone density that pro-
vides a safeguard against
osteoporosis for postmenopausal
women.
A recent study published in
Medicine and Science in Sports
and Exercise supports the concept
that such low-impact activities
are just as effective as less joint-
friendly, high-impact variety.

N

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