Phone: 800-926-4797 or 941-312-0400
Your membership provides this website - Join Today!

 

HOME

BE INFORMED
  
> About PWS
  
> Get Publications
 
 > About PWSA (USA)
        
Board of Directors
        
Adults with PWS Advisory
       
 Office Staff

MEDICAL
   > Health Concerns
 
 > Medical Alert
  
> Psychiatric
  
> Diet Resources
  
> Growth Hormone

RESEARCH
   >
Research Grants
   >
Funded Research

   > Participants Wanted
   > Research Topics
   > Scientific Advisory Board
   > Clinical Advisory Board

GET INVOLVED
 
  > Spread Awareness
  
> Become member
   >
Registry

SUPPORT
  
 > Newly Diagnosis
   >
Non-Medical

 
 > For Families
  
> For Providers
           
Advisory Board
   >
For Educators

   > State Chapters
   > Links and Resources

MEDIA

GIVE

CONTACT US

 

HOW ARE BEARS AND PWS ALIKE AND CAN THAT SIMILARITY HELP WITH THE TREATMENT OF PWS? 

By: Janalee Heinemann

Several months ago I received a call from Ralph A. Nelson, MD, PhD, FACP, who is the Head of the Department of Internal Medicine for the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign and also the Director of Research at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Illinois. Dr. Nelson is a world-renowned expert on the subject of metabolism in bears and in the area of clinical nutrition. Twenty years ago he wrote a chapter in our first Management of PWS book and recently told me he had never forgotten PWS and had come across something that was very exciting. Soon after that he flew to Florida to meet with me and since then we (PWSA-USA) have been collaborating on a research project. Due to a non-disclosure agreement I cannot go into detail, but would like to at least give you some basics.

For some time Dr. Nelson has been studying the denning habits of bears and their phsysiology for over 30 years and particularly the control of appetite in bears. Bears are remarkable since they are able to go many months without eating or drinking. They prepare for this denning period with several weeks of ravenous foraging and feeding. In other words, during a normal year, there is a time in which the same animal eats as much as can be found, then later consumes absolutely nothing. There are several substances in the ir blood that may control this process.

Every parent of a child with Prader-Willi knows that in the first two years of life, getting your child to eat is a problem since the appetite is usually poor and sucking difficult. Of course, by the age of 4 to 5, most children with PWS begin a period of runaway appetite. Dr. Nelson's research team is comparing substances in the blood of both the child/adult with PWS and the bears that control this process. Our hope is that this study of bears and people with PWS will be helpful in finding a way to control appetite in persons with PWS.

Dr. Nelson's team has applied the same logic to the problems of osteoporosis and kidney dysfunction. In each case an international pharmaceutical company is using the research work to pursue development of treatments for those human problems.

For more information, you can contact Jim Kane at 410-321-9788 office or 410-337-5243 home, who can answer any questions from the perspective a parent of a child with PWS who is participating in the study. Jim can then put you in touch with the research team. The process of submitting a sample is relatively simple and those people with PWS who have submitted samples have taken great pride in helping the cause.

edited: 02/09/2012

 

Return to Home page

PWSA(USA) Disclaimer 

Membership
Payments

PWSA (USA)
Privacy Policy

PWSA (USA) Link Policy

Email PWSA(USA)

 Email Webmaster