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Miami Children's Hospital's genetic diseases center promotes testing in Jewish community

Tuesday May 28, 2013
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The Miami Children’s Hospital Brain Institute now houses the Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases.

According to a news release, the Victor Center will ensure ongoing access to comprehensive genetic education, counseling services and affordable screenings for 19 genetic diseases that have a high carrier rate in the Ashkenazi Jewish population, those whose ancestors are from Central Eastern Europe (i.e. Poland, Russia, Germany, Lithuania).

A simple blood test is all that is needed to examine genes for changes, mutations and to determine whether an individual is a carrier. Anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent should be screened, according to the news release. Students, young adults, newlyweds and young couples considering having children, or those who have had children and need to update their screening panel, can be screened, according to the release.

MCH will host screenings for at-risk individuals at its main campus and various South Florida locations. Education, counseling information and awareness about the diseases also will be available to carriers.

The 19 genetic diseases screened for include: Bloom syndrome, Canavan disease, cystic fibrosis, dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency, familial dysautonomia, familial hyperinsulinism, Fanconi anemia type C, Gaucher disease type 1, glycogen storage disease type 1a, Joubert syndrome, maple syrup urine disease, mucolipidosis type 4, nemaline myopathy, Niemann-Pick disease type A, spinal muscular atrophy, Tay-Sachs disease, Usher syndrome type 1F, Usher syndrome type 3 and Walker-Warburg syndrome.

There are Victor Centers in Boston, Miami, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and community partnerships in Atlanta; Birmingham, Ala.; and Dallas. •


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