Highlighting September’s Tay-Sachs Awareness Month, JScreen, an at home education and genetic carrier screening program, is encouraging people to get tested for genetic diseases so they can make informed decisions about family planning. JScreen’s expanded screening panel tests for more than 200 diseases, a significant development from a generation ago.
JScreen’s screening panel includes many diseases common in Jewish communities, and detects nearly two times as many carriers of genetic diseases in people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent compared with the general population. Three out of four people with Jewish background test positive as a carrier of at least one disease on JScreen’s panel.
A partnership with Hillel makes JScreen accessible to college students in a variety of ways, including through JScreen Shabbat programs and onsite screening events across the country, and offering highly reduced pricing for students and Hillel staff.
Additional Background and Information on Tay-Sachs:
One in 30 Ashkenazi Jews are carriers of Tay-Sachs, and one in 300 people in the general population are carriers. While there is no cure for Tay-Sachs, genetic screening can determine who is a carrier and whether a couple is at risk for having a child with this or other diseases. For the small percentage of couples that are at risk, there are many options to help them have healthy children.
Since the 1970’s, the incidence of babies being born with Tay-Sachs has fallen by more than 90 percent among Jews because of genetic screening in the Jewish community.
Currently, 80 percent of babies with genetic diseases are born to parents with no known family history of that disease.
For additional information, including how to order an at home “spit kit,” visit JScreen.org.