About CheckOrphan

CheckOrphan is the leading news and information portal about rare diseases, orphan drugs and orphan products

Living in Spite of the Damocles’s Sword

by Stefano Torti

I was able to learn a lot about Huntington’s disease… but that woman’s dignified sadness still haunted me, so to speak. I kept thinking about her and her sons, especially the pre-symptomatic one… how could he find the motivation to get up every day, knowing what was in store for him? How could he work, live and love in spite of such a Damocles’s sword?

The question grew important to me as the days went by: how can someone find new possibilities and motivation as their share of healthy lifetime was to be cut in such a cruel way?

Eventually, I decided to devote my M.A. thesis to answering that question. How it happened to be and how I made it will be the topic of this post. Continue reading

Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month

May is Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month.

As Stefano relates in his recent blog post, Huntington’s is a devastating disease that involves virtually all aspects of the affected person’s functioning, leading to an irreversible decline of motor and cognitive abilities and to behavioral disorders, up to paralysis and dementia.

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Join CheckOrphan, the International Huntington Association and your local Huntington’s Disease organization in raising awareness of this crippling disease.

Working with Huntington’s Patients, Seizing the Damocles Sword

 

by Stefano Torti

With this post, we welcome Stefano as our guest blogger. We invite others to join our roster of bloggers. Please feel free to contact CheckOrphan about writing your own rare disease stories.

Stefano has worked with Huntington’s patients. As with Noemi’s myopathyHuntington’s disease is autosomal dominant and appears quite late, generally between the ages of 30 and 50. 

In his thesis work,  our guest blogger analyzed the psychosocial impact of predictive medicine. Generally the diagnostic process for rare diseases is already available, but the treatment is not yet optimized. This gap impacts patients’ private and professional lives as well as their future reproductive choices. Please Stefano go ahead, the floor is yours!

How Stefano knew about HD

Thank you, Assunta!

I heard of Huntington’s disease for the first time about two years ago. It was a spring night. I was idly zapping when I landed on a local TV stationA woman was talking about a nasty illness that had struck first her estranged husband, then their eldest son, a young man in his late-20s, who had inherited the disease from his father.

This condition had left the both of them physically and mentally incapacitated in a few years’ time; to make matters worse, the youngest son had also inherited the genetic mutation responsible for the disease, and although healthy now, he knew he would have through the same ordeal as his father and brother, which was a source of excruciating anguish for him. Continue reading

Rare Diseases and Genetic Screening: Scientific Tests with Human Impact

by Assunta Ginanneschi

The aim of this blog is to arise awareness around  specific rare diseases and create a network of experts, competences and resources around them. Our role is to facilitate the communication between patients, associations and physicians.
During our networking activitiesfoto_settembre.2015_piccola we came across the
dissertation of a young Italian psychologistwho focussed the first part of his thesis work on genetic tests and their impact on patient private and professional life. We asked him to collaborate with us and he accepted welcome on board, Stefano! Continue reading

Rare Diseases and Clinical Trials: Discovering Suitable Drugs for Adults and Children

by Assunta Ginanneschi

Recently we received an official blog request about a very delicate theme: Better medicine for children. Dr. Rose came to us through the pediatric & rare disease congress that took place in Basel in February 2016.

My colleagues Rieka and Nicole attended on behalf of CheckOrphan. After the conference, the three of them  exchanged ideas and thoughts about rare diseases as well as the actual status for clinical trials with children. A couple of meetings later, we started  collaborating with him. We are really very glad to arise awareness about this topic, thank Dr. Rose for approaching us about it. Continue reading

Marc*’s Story: Feeling like an Outsider, Alone with PANDAS Disorder

by Assunta Ginanneschi

Apparently our blog is getting popular, and we are very happy about that!

This time we’ve got a request from Paula*, a former classmate of mine, who asked me to blog on PANDAS . Her neighbor Marc* is affected by this rare disease; as a result, his entire family has been on a therapeutic odyssey of epic proportions.

At the age of 3,  Marc had a severe case of strep throat, that worsened into Mononucleosis. He was hospitalized. After an antibiotic treatment, he recovered well and was discharged from hospital as a healthy child.  A few weeks later he developed some tics, which he had never had before.   Continue reading