National Taiwan University Hospital (NTUH) yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of its medical genetics department, saying that its outpatient services treating genetic and rare diseases were integrated and able to provide whole-person healthcare for patients afflicted with multiple disorders.
The department has been working with medical professionals both within and outside the hospital for the development of comprehensive care for patients with rare diseases, the hospital said.
For example, the department provided the world’s first newborn screening for Pompe disease — a progressive neuromuscular disorder — and has made the country Asia’s first to undertake early screening and detection of Niemann-Pick disease, an inherited metabolic disorder.
“Integrated outpatient services for patients with tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) and Down syndrome, both multisystem disorders, are expected to set an example for other departments as well,” department chief Ni Yen-huuan (倪衍玄) said.
TSC is a rare genetic disease that causes the growth of noncancerous tumors in many parts of the body, including the brain, kidneys, heart, lungs, eyes, teeth and skin, leading to various health problems, attending physician of medical genetics Chen Pay-Long (陳沛隆) said.
“These patients need to be treated by doctors of different specialties,” Chen said.
“The hospital’s three-year-old Joint TSC Clinic has helped more than 140 patients with TSC, which is about one-third of the national number reported,” he said, adding that the disease’s prevalence is about 1 in 200,000 people.
The hospital’s integrated outpatient service for patients with Down syndrome, the most common chromosome condition in humans, was set up toward the end of last year.
“The mental challenges of the disease are what people are more familiar with, but the patients might also suffer from a range of problems, including impaired vision and hearing, and heart, endocrine, blood and gastroenterological problems,” department attending physician Lee Ni-chung (李妮鍾) said.
“Children with Down syndrome have a more-than-50-percent risk of congenital heart disease, for example, and are at higher risk of thyroid disorders and renal anomalies, among others,” she said. “When they get old, they are also more susceptible to early cataracts, menopause, osteoporosis and degenerative arthritis.”
These patients also need an integrated outpatient service for comprehensive care, Lee said.
“Children with Down syndrome can greatly benefit from early intervention, which can minimize the disease’s impact on their development,” Lee added.
A Taipei veterinarian is urging pet owners to avoid using insecticides around their homes, as their ingredients can be toxic to pets. Commercial-grade insecticides contain pyrethroids — organic compounds similar to natural pyrethrins, pesticides produced by flowers such as chrysanthemums — in quantities that are harmless to humans, but potentially fatal to cats and dogs, Asian Veterinary Specialist Referral Center veterinarian Chua Man-ling (蔡曼琳) said. Even in small quantities, pyrethroids are hazardous to cats, as they lack the metabolic enzymes needed to process them, Chua said. Cockroach sprays and ant traps are especially dangerous to pets as they contain boric acid, she
People should avoid eating too many zongzi (粽子, glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves), as consuming several in one meal could cause indigestion, bloating, gastric acid reflux, heartburn and other stomach ailments, a doctor said on Saturday. Zongzi is a traditional delicacy for the Dragon Boat Festival, which was on Thursday. Citing a recent case as an example, Cathay General Hospital gastroenterology department head Chu Yu-ming (朱淯銘) said that a 58-year-old taxi driver surnamed Hsiao (蕭) ate meals at irregular hours due to his work and has been taking diabetes medicine for three years. Hsiao recently bought a bag of zongzi and ate
DREAMING OF TRAVEL: About 7,000 people applied for the experience, with about 60 chosen for the first flight yesterday, which includes boarding an airplane Starved of the travel experience during COVID-19? Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) has the solution — a fake itinerary where you check in, go through passport control and security, and even board the aircraft. You just never leave. The airport yesterday began offering travelers the chance to do just that, with about 60 people eager to get going, albeit to nowhere. About 7,000 people applied to take part, with the winners chosen by random. More fake flight experiences are to take place in the coming weeks. “I really want to leave the country, but because of the pandemic, lots of flights cannot fly,”
A DEPRIVATION? The Taiwan Higher Education Union said the program, which drew much student criticism, undermined students' right to an education The Taiwan Higher Education Union on Monday accused Ming Chuan University (MCU) of sacrificing its students’ right to education by altering the English-language instruction for first-year students. The university, which has long emphasized the value that it places on English-language education, in the 2019-2020 academic year changed its English program for first-year students to a combination of self-learning through online videos and weekly lab sessions, during which students would take online tests, the union said. The change has deprived more than 3,000 students of in-person instruction and of interaction with their teachers, the union added. The online program drew much criticism from students