Another Piece Found in MS Puzzle

1 decade 10 months 2 weeks ago Thursday, August 02 2007 Aug 2, 2007 Thursday, August 02, 2007 2:02:17 PM CDT August 02, 2007 in News

Every hour, another person joins the 400 thousand Americans already diagnosed with MS.

Thirty-three year old Jennifer Paretta was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 10 years ago. Now, her son is worried that he could be next.

"Am I going to have MS in my leg?" six year old Anthony asked. 

"They're going to come out with a cure, how's that sound?" his mother replied.

The disease runs in Anthony's family. Paretta's dad's twin brother had it.

Right now, there's no way of testing someone for MS, but a breakthrough discovery may one day change that.

Thirty years after the first MS gene link was found, comes a long-awaited discovery. Analyzing the DNA of thousands of people with MS, researchers from around the world have identified 2 new genes they say increase an individual's risk of MS by 30 percent.

Much about MS remains unknown. It's widely considered an autoimmune disease, something makes the body attack and destroy insulation along nerve fibers, stopping the flow of information from the brain to the body.

Identifying 2 more genes will help solve only part of the MS puzzle. Most of the time, people don't develop the disease because it runs in their family; they get MS for reasons doctors don't fully understand. Still, researchers believe the discovery puts them on track for eventual genetic testing, even preventing MS.

Reported by NBC's Elizabeth Cohen.

Talking Health In St. Louis

The Institute of Medicine and Missouri Foundation of Health hosted a round table discussion Monday in St. Louis. Experts discussed health care disparities, looking into how Americans of different races and geographic areas have different access to health care.

Diabetes Medicine Linked To Heart Attack

Two FDA advisory committees met today to discuss heart attack risks associated with the diabetes drug, Avandia.

The FDA pointed to studies that show an increased risk for heart attack in patients who take the drug. An FDA scientist said the drug should be pulled from the market because its potential risks don't outweigh its benefits.

About 1 million Americans take Avandia to control their blood sugar.

Makers of the drug deny the FDA's claims.

Hearing Tests Show Pattern In SIDS Deaths 

New research shows there may be a link between hearing and sudden infant death syndrome.

Rhode Island researchers analyzed children who had died of SIDS. The babies had distinctive differences in their newborn hearing tests. Researchers say the babies all scored lower on 3 sound frequencies in their right ear during their screening tests when compared with other babies.

It's believed that, when damaged, tiny hair cells in the ear may SIDS risks.

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