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Sound Medicine: April 29, 2007

Tourette Syndrome, a neurological disorder known for its involuntary movements and vocalizations, is not as rare as some may think. Sue Conners, an education specialist for the national Tourette Syndrome Association, will discuss workshops designed to help parents and educators better understand the syndrome and teach children suffering from the illness.

Down Syndrome is the most common genetic disorder affecting newborns and a leading cause of learning disabilities in children. Deborah Driscoll, MD, professor and chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania, will discuss new prenatal screening methods and what many doctors think about the availability of the testing.

Millions of American children suffer sports concussions each year. National Public Radio reporter Tom Goldman will explore the dangers of the severe brain injury and the importance of an early diagnosis.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning for doctors prescribing anemia drugs such as Procrit, Epogen and Aranesp because of the increased risk of blood clots, heart attacks, and death for patients with cancer and kidney disease. Kathy Miller, MD, breast cancer specialist at the IU Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center, talks about the threat posed by these drugs and the alternatives for patients suffering from anemia.

The New York City health department is planning a campaign to encourage men at high risk of AIDS to get circumcised. Robert Bailey, MPH, PhD, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will discuss a recent clinical study and explain why circumcision helps to prevent the transmission of HIV and how this could potentially help the growing problem of AIDS in Africa.

The malaria parasite is primarily transmitted by the female mosquito and is the leading cause of death in African children under age 5. Jesse Matthews, a third-year medical student at Saint Louis University, and a fellow student launched a personal fight to help prevent some of the one million malaria deaths in Africa each year. Through their organization, Netlife, the students raise money to buy bed nets coated with insecticide and deliver them by bicycle to rural villages in West Africa. He will talk about their motivation, the reactions of the villagers, and the potential growth of their organization.