Screening Tuesday for Jewish genetic diseases

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A community-wide screening for young adults who are potential carriers of 19 Jewish genetic diseases will take place Tuesday at the Hillel Jewish University Center of Pittsburgh, 4607 Forbes Ave., Oakland, from noon to 8 p.m.

Ashkenazi Jews -- those of Central and Eastern European descent -- have a 1-in-4 chance of carrying the gene for at least one of these preventable diseases, which strike in childhood and have no cure. The screening, done through a blood test, tells prospective parents if they carry a gene that could threaten the health or life of their offspring.

All those at risk -- interfaith couples, those using donor egg and/or sperm, those with one or more Jewish grandparents -- should be screened, according to the Victor Center for the Prevention of Jewish Genetic Diseases at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. The Victor Center and its Pittsburgh affiliate are co-sponsoring the screening with Hillel JUC.

Testing cost will be a maximum of $99, depending on insurance. Anyone without insurance may contact Dodie Roskies, director of the Pittsburgh-Victor Center Partnership, at roskiesd@hotmail.com, for assistance.

Individuals are encouraged to pre-register online at www.victorcenters.org.

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