Health Report: Dec. 13, 1993

THE GOOD NEWS

-- Scientists have identified the defective gene that causes Wilson's disease, a disorder that destroys the liver and brain. The gene prevents the liver from removing the excess copper that enters the body in food; eventually, the metal hurts the liver and leaks into the brain. The finding could lead to a screening test and more effective treatment.

-- Researchers have also discovered the faulty gene responsible for a rare disorder (hyperekplexia) that causes sufferers to become stiff as a board when startled. Afflicted infants can choke or suffocate, and adults can break bones when they topple over....

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