Archive for March, 2010

Doctor who helped identify all human DNA honored
March 29, 2010

     One of the doctors who unlocked the human genome, making it easier to identify and study the genes associated with Progeria and other genetic conditions is a recipient of the Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research.

Photo Courtesy genome.gov

     Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. is the director of the National Institute of Health.  Collins will be recognized along with the others chosen for the prize on April 23 at the Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y.

     The Human Genome Project identified the approximately 20-25,000 genes and identified the sequence of 3 billion chemical pairs that make up human DNA.  The information was immediately available online to researchers and will be used to ensure a quick as possible route for researchers in medicine.

     Collins declined his portion of the $500,000 prize that would have been awarded in order to comply with ethical rules. 

     Other recipients of the prize are Eric Lander, Ph.D. and David Botstein, Ph.D.

Stay Connected
March 29, 2010

     Widgets are applications for the internet that allow you easy access to just about anything. There are widgets for weather, to take notes, or to tell the time. Shout Me is a widget that puts all your social media contacts in one place. You can put your URL’s to Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, MySpace, YouTube, and Flickr within the widget.
     Widgets allow you to multitask and be a click away from anything. Student Christen Scarpa said widgets are unique tool: “I think the accessibility of being able to see everything you’re working on at once is a really convenient tool.”
     “Because widgets exploit well-understood tools and technologies, they have lower entry barriers than complex native applications, and thus can be a good first step to assess the demand for an application on a specific platform before undertaking expensive native development,” research firm Gartner told Networkworld.com. Widgets are highly accessible and many websites offer simple tools to make your own.

Poker for Progeria
March 22, 2010

The Progeria Research Foundation will host their 5th annual Poker for Progeria Event this Saturday, March 27, 2010.  The evening will include a silent auction, refreshments, raffles and more

Find a map below with directions to the Azorean Brotherhood Hall located at 20 Howley Street in Peabody, MA.  Tickets are $100 to play poker for 4 thousand chips, $100 to sponsor a table, or $25 to enjoy the evening and support the cause.  The first place prize will be approximately 3 thousand dollars if there are 120 players, in addition to five cash card prizes.  Blackjack tables will be available for those not playing poker who wish to gamble for fun.

The evening begins with registration at 6 pm, and the games start at 7.

Dr. Oz Show Monday March 8, 2010
March 16, 2010

Photo Courtesy DoctorOz.com
Photo Courtesy of ToledoFreePress.com

 

     Kaylee Halko and her parents, Tim and Marla appeared on the Dr. Oz show Monday. Staffers had contacted them after viewing the TLC documentary “6 Going On 60” that Kaylee appeared in.

     Progeria Research Foundation Medical Director Leslie Gordon and University of Michigan’s Dr. Jeffrey Innis joined the Halkos on the show.  Dr. Innis originally diagnosed Kaylee in 2004 and practices at University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

    Audrey Gordon told the Toledo Free Press that they were thrilled the medical show was interested in Progeria and raising awareness for the rare condition.

Progeria to be featured on The Dr. Oz Show
March 4, 2010

     Progeria will be the topic of The Dr. Oz Show on Monday, March 8.  The show airs at 5 pm est on the FOX channel in the Boston area.  Check your local listings for details. The Progeria Research Foundation’s Medical Director, Leslie Gordon will be appearing along with Kaylee Halko and her family.  Kaylee is a six year old girl with Progeria.

     Dr. Mehmet Oz previously appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and began The Dr. Oz Show in September, 2009.  Oz was Time Magazine’s 44th Most Influentional Scientist and Thinker in 2008.

Rare Disease Day 2010
March 3, 2010

Sunday February 28, 2010 was World Rare Disease Day.  The purpose of the day was to spread the word about the need to research rare diseases.  The National Organization for Rare Disorders headed the third annual event.  NORD’s mission is to identify, treat and cure rare diseases through various programs.

Information about rare diseases is limited; making diagnoses difficult and families often face a lack of research or resources.   Rare diseases often have no cures.  However, there are between 6 and 8 thousand known rare diseases with 75% of these affecting children (rarediseaseday.org).

Congress passed the Orphan Drug Act of 1983 to encourage the development of drugs for rare diseases.  A rare disease is one that affects fewer than 200,000 people in the United States.  Prior to the passage of this Act, private industries were hesitant to invest in treatments because the drugs were expected to be unprofitable.  To find out more about the benefits of this Act you can visit the review by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Finding a treatment or cure for rare diseases often leads to advances in more common diseases and disorders.  Dr. Leslie Gordon, Medical Director for the Progeria Research Foundation said, “Helping children with Progeria, with this rare and fatal disease, also helps us understand the biology of aging in all of us” (Findtheother150.org).

On Rare Disease Day 2010, Boston Children’s Hospital hung a sixty foot chain with the names of 350 rare diseases. Audrey Gordon, President and Executive Director of the Progeria Research Foundation explains why rare disease studies are so important: