Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

April Dzik January 31, 2018Professor Rutherford M/W

    April Dzik January 31, 2018Professor Rutherford M/W 1:00 – 2:15 Reflection 1     This article was very informational, and taught me alot about gene therapy. I had no idea what gene therapy was until I read this article. This helped me to realize that if I was to have a boy, I need to look out for changes in his behavior that could be caused by brain degeneration. Brain degeneration can be prevented by using gene therapy. Gene therapy is easier than it sounds, however, the process can take a long time.     The article that I picked was titled “In a First, Gene Therapy Halts a Fatal Brain Disease.” This article was written by Gina Kolata. The purpose of this article is to find a cure for boys ages 4-13, who have inherited a mutated gene causing a rare disorder. The symptoms to look for when considering having this disease are, problems or trouble speaking, problems walking, or difficulty eating. Many of these symptoms happen all of a sudden without warning. A child might seem fine one week, then the next week show these symptoms. The hypothesis tested was that researchers used a disabled form of HIV. The disabled for of HIV can insert genes into human cells in a more safe method. The HIV would deliver a normal form of an ALD gene, to stop brain the degeneration that was starting to happen in these boys. There were 17 boys, between the ages of 4 and 13, that received the gene therapy treatment. Dr. Salzman performed this study because her son had symptoms of brain deterioration beginning. Salzman’s study was the following,”Yet the idea behind the treatment was almost preposterous: Take bone marrow stem cells from a boy with the ALD gene mutation. Insert a good gene into those cells and then infuse them back into the bone marrow.” (p.9) Salzman’s study was also to Wait about a year while stem cells with the good genes multiply in the bone marrow. Eventually, they drift up into the brain, where they slowly turn into glial cells — support cells that surround neurons and help insulate them.” (p.9) Although the procedure itself is short, in order to receive the outcome, it will take a long time. The results of the study were that 2 years later, 15 boys were functioning normally without any obvious symptoms. The results proved that gene therapy really does work, if you catch the problem early enough. If you wait too long, the brain will have degenerated too much, and will not be curable. The process of gene therapy is rather on the expensive side, but any type of medical procedure is.      This article was an interesting read for me. I found it interesting that this disease strikes 1 in 20,000 boys. Even though there is a slim chance of actually having this disease, I will still keep an eye out for it in my future sons, if I have any. I also found it interesting that by implanting new genes into bone marrow, that alone can change someone’s life. That showed me that something so simple, can have a life long effect. This research is important to find a cure for degenerative brain disease. Many of parents do not see symptoms of brain disease until it is too late. If too much of the brain has degenerated, then the procedure of gene therapy will not work. Author’s could have used a bigger group of people to test. If the test group would have been bigger, more boys could have been cured sooner, and could have possibly been prevented from dying. If this was my line of research, a new question that I would have from this test was is there any way that we could make the process go quicker. Is there any way that we could find a way for it to take less than a year for the new genes to reproduce? If so, how? This new information changes how I think of about bio-psychology or Neuroscience because now I realize that it is very important and has had life  saving discoveries. This new information makes me want to read more information on genes alone, and how they can have an effect on inheritance, such as eye color, hair color, skin tone, etc.           In conclusion, this article has taught me a lot of new information that I had no idea about prior to reading this article, or taking this class. After reading this article I know what to look out for in my future son, and I know what to do to prevent this disease from killing him. I found the article very interesting, and would love to know more about the process and actually see how it works in real life. I hope to someday be involved in finding a cure for a disease. In a First, Gene Therapy Halts a Fatal Brain Disease. (2017, December 22). Retrieved January 29, 2018, from https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/10/05/health/gene-therapy-brain-disease.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fscience&action=click&contentCollection=science®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=&referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.biopsychology.com%2Fnews%2Findex.php%3FdescType&type=keyword&id=15&page=0

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