Screening Program Announced for Tay-Sachs Disease, Hyperlipidemia

A genetic screening program to test for two serious hereditary diseases among the Jewish population of Westchester will take place on May 20 and June 3, it was announced today by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the National Genetics Foundation.

The two hereditary disorders are Tay-Sachs disease, which affects primarily Jewish children and causes their death by the age of three or four, and hyperlipidemia, which is marked by high levels of cholesterol in the blood and may cause heart attack in the prime of a person’s life. It affects Jews and non-Jews alike. The screening is designed for the 55,000 members of the Westchester Jewish community who are between 18 and 45 because they are in the main reproductive years.

The screening sessions will be held at the following locations: May 20 – 9 a.m. -4 p.m. – Solomon Schechter School of the Heritage Synagogue, 20 Soundview Ave., White Plains. June 3 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Free Synagogue of Westchester 500 North Columbus Ave., Mount Vernon.

The screening, which involves taking a small blood sample, is designed for members of the Westchester Jewish community because Tay-Sachs affects American Jews 100 times more often than it does non-Jews. Hyperlipidemia affects Jews and non-Jews with the same frequency but it is being included in the program because a single blood sample can be used to detect both diseases.

After the blood samples are taken from the people who take part in the tests, they will be analyzed by physicians at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who will mail the results to all participants. The Einstein medical team will offer genetic counseling to those found to be Tay-Sachs carriers or affected by hyperlipidemia.

People who wish to take part in this important health test are urged to make an appointment by calling (212) 430-2516 or (212) 265-3166.

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