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WHAT IS CYSTIC FIBROSIS AND WHO DOES IT AFFECTEvery year 1000 children with cystic fibrosis are born in the United States1 in 3000 Caucasian babies have the disorder making Cystic Fibrosis one of the most common lethal genetic diseases in Caucasians Overall there are 30000 Americans with Cystic Fibrosis and an estimated 8 million people carry one copy of the defective gene that causes the disease These carriers do not have symptoms of Cysitc Fibrosis because a person must inherit ttwo defective genes one from each parent-to develop the disease However each child of two Cystic Fibrosis carriers has a one in four chance of being born with Cystic Fibrosis You can now have test to identify couples at risk for having children with Cystic FibrosisImproved therapy has transformed Cystic Fibrosis from a disease to a chronic illness with most patients living to adulthood But despite this progress there still is no cure for the disease and most patients eventually will have infections of the airways and lung failure Since the 1989 identification of the gene which is altered in Cystic Fibrosis the pace of basic research has increased rapidly and scientists hope to translate new knowledge about the molecule basis of the disease to new therapies to improve the lives of patients with this genetic disease The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in partnership with other components of the National Institutes of Health and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation continues to foster research on the molecular processes contributing to CF exploration of gene therapy to cure the disease and efforts to develop other new and effective treatments The greatest symptom of Cystic Fibrosis is the excessive production of thick sticky mucus in the airways Several factors may contribute to this mucus abnormality In Cystic Fibrosis the cells lining the airway do not transport salt and water normally so mucus and other airway secretions may be depleted of water There are also
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