Health

Health website specialises in Jewish genetic diseases

By Leon Symons, August 13, 2009

People afflicted by rare illnesses which predominantly affect Jews will be able to find out how to cope with them through a new health website.

Tay-Sachs disease, Niemann-Pick syndrome, Canavan disease, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis and even the extremely rare maple syrup disease are among the illnesses which will be highlighted on the website www.healthtalkonline.org.uk

Oxford sociologist Dr Sara Ryan, who is running the part of the website that deals with Jewish health, has been seeking volunteers all over the country to give interviews about these illnesses.

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Is London to blame for New York measles?

By Jeremy Gillick, July 16, 2009

The New York Department of Health suspects that an outbreak of measles in the Chasidic community may have originated in London.

Twelve cases have been confirmed over the past two months, the majority of them in Williamsburg, home to around 70,000 Satmar Chasidim, and two in Borough Park, a Bobover enclave.

“We have not identified any source yet,” said Dr Jane Zucker, assistant commissioner for immunisation at New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, “but in the past we have had measles imported from the UK and other European countries.

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Israeli medical chief returns fire on ‘torture’

By Leon Symons, July 9, 2009

The Israeli president of the World Medical Association has challenged his main critics to put up or shut up.

He says that if they have a case against Israeli doctors whom they believe to have been complicit in the torture of Palestinians, they should lodge complaints with the police and the state’s Attorney General.

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Euthanasia challenged

July 2, 2009

Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks has joined forces with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and the new Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, to try to stop an attempt to introduce euthanasia by the back door.

In a letter to the Daily Telegraph, they criticised a Lords’ amendment to the Coroners and Justice Bill that would protect from prosecution people who wanted to help friends or relatives go abroad to commit suicide.

The three faith leaders said the amendment would put vulnerable people at risk.

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'Kidney donation law must change'

By Keren David, July 2, 2009

An American Jewish campaigner who recruits volunteers to donate their kidneys has called for the rules governing transplants in the UK to be relaxed, to encourage more British Jews to perform “the ultimate mitzvah”.

Chaya Lipschutz, who runs the website kidneymitzvah.com, believes more Jewish people would come forward as altruistic donors, giving their kidney to a stranger, if they could ensure the recipient was from within the community.

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Radical brain surgery cures epileptic

By Marcus Dysch, June 25, 2009

A Jewish charity worker has had sections of her brain removed during a 12-hour operation to cure her of severe epilepsy.

Emma Kon, a member of Finchley Reform Synagogue, suffered from daily seizures that left her unable to work.

But since undergoing the radical surgery last year, she has gone months without a fit, allowing her to volunteer with Jewish Care and help Alzheimer’s and MS sufferers.

The 25-year-old, from Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, contracted viral encephalitis at the age of 17 and was left in a coma for three weeks.

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Bone marrow group wants more screen tests

By James Martin, June 4, 2009

A year-long global fundraising campaign supporting Jews needing bone marrow matches has reached London.

Volunteers from the British Friends of Ezer Mizion, which organises bone marrow testing in Israel, were outside north-west London synagogues and shops seeking donations towards a £2.5 million UK target.

Simon Maurer of the British Friends says the campaign will enable “many more Israelis to go for a bone marrow test, which will improve the chances of Jews worldwide finding a match”.

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HSA enrages Jewish community with unpaid health claims

By James Martin, May 21, 2009

Hundreds of Jewish families claim they have been left out of pocket because a leading health insurer has failed to pay out for their treatment.

They are backed by angry dentists, opticians and chiropodists who say insurer HSA has failed even to respond to applications they made on behalf of the patients.

Many of the patients are from large strictly Orthodox families in Stamford Hill, north London. They are furious at the lack of response.

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Miracle teenager says thanks to supporters

By Jay Grenby, May 7, 2009

A 13-year-old Radlett girl who recently left hospital after lengthy treatment for a rare form of cancer has thrown a thank-you party for those who have helped her.

Just over a year ago, Immanuel College pupil Alana Jacobs was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer which mainly affects young people.

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Manchester Tay Sachs screening set to close

By Jonathan Kalmus, May 7, 2009

The last screening for Tay Sachs outside of London is due to take place in Manchester next week.

Screening drives for the fatal genetic disorder have traditionally been run inside Jewish schools, paid for by the Tay Sachs Screening Programme. However, the charity, run by north Manchester-based doctor of genetics Sybil Simon, is due to close when she retires.

“For the past 20 years I have run it and fundraised for it. There is no one to take this over. No one wants to do voluntary work anymore.”

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