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A new focus on screening Irish descendants for the gene that causes Tay-Sachs disease
Tay-Sachs disease is a fatal neurodegenerative disease that can be passed on to children when both parents are carriers of an altered gene.
Due to its large presence among Ashkenazi Jews, it was thought that Tay-Sachs was a Jewish genetic disorder. However, cases of the disease have been identified in the Irish population in Philadelphia over the last few years.
Philadelphia magazine Top Doc Dr. Adele Schneider, Director of Clinical Genetics at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, is conducting a study to determine the carrier rate among people of Irish descent.
If the carrier rate is determined to be high, large–scale screening initiatives - like those conducted through the Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases at Einstein and other facilities throughout the country - could identify carriers before they pass on the Tay-Sachs gene.
For more information about the study, including upcoming free screenings*, contact:Amybeth Weaver, MS, CGC484-636-4197Irish@tay-sachs.org.
*To be eligible for a screening - which involves a simple blood test and are free to those who participate - you must be at least 18 years of age and have at least three grandparents of Irish descent.
Click here to see the dates of upcoming Tay-Sachs disease screenings.
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