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Saturday, November 29, 2008

UK Anatolian Hip scores and sad stuff about cognitive function

Excellent Hip conformation in an Anatolian Shepherd Dog
(this is Semavi Burali "Bertha")

Caroline Southen has some updates on her November blog about Anatolian health. She's also updated the complete list of UK Anatolians that have ever obtained BVA hip ratings. The ratings include pass and fail, not just the good ones. Sadly, there are not more breeders in UK that check hips, and dysplastic dogs are commonly bred together. An international comparison of hit ratings is here.

There was a heartbreaking article in The Scientist just over a week ago, about two little twin girls who have a rare genetic disease called Nieman-Pick Type C (NPC). You do need to sign in as a free account holder to read the free article... here is an excerpt from this one to get you started.

What can two little girls teach us about Alzheimer's disease?

By Alison McCook

When you meet identical four-year old twins Addi and Cassi Hempel, you might notice something about the way they walk. They used to run around like other toddlers, but now they are more wobbly, more uncertain, and walk with their legs somewhat wide apart, as if aboard a boat. They can sway in any direction, losing their balance. They fall more often than they should.

They will notice you, and smile. They don't say words but they talk, a rhythmic, nonsensical babble from which a crystal-clear sound occasionally escapes: "ice cream," "paddycake," "four." Their heads have a slight bobble, and they sometimes can't angle their eyes downward, so they fall again.

Unlike most children, who get better at things with time, Addi and Cassi's gait will get worse, and they'll reach more for railings and furniture for support. They'll fall more, adding to the bruises that already dot their elbows and knees. The few steps in their parents' newly renovated house will become impossible; when walking gets too difficult, they'll use a wheelchair. They're not potty-trained, and likely never will be.

They will stop saying words, and may stop speaking altogether. Soon, they'll start to forget things they once remembered; like which bed is whose in the room they share, or who their parents are. They may start to have seizures. As their condition worsens, their swallowing will deteriorate, and their parents may place them on feeding tubes. In several years, they will likely die - first one, then the other. [to see the rest, go here...]

Reading the whole article put me into such a reflective and sad mood. While it's not quite the same thing, I remember reading "Flowers for Algernon" in a science fiction anthology of best selling stories. It was in the sixties when I used to read just about anything that didn't wiggle out of reach if I'd grab it. I understand there was later both a book and a movie based on the short story and these had changes in some details of the story. But never mind them!! I want to read the short story again. ah... found a copy of the original short story (circa 1959). Yay. :)

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 11/29/2008 11:20:00 PM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

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