Albinism

By Nick Tillery

Discovery

Dr. William S. Oetting said that there was no one man who discovered Albinism, it has been brought up in ancient medical literature from the early Roman times. Although, the first accurate scientific paper on the disease was written by Sir Archibald Garrod in 1908.

Signs/Symptoms

A person suffering from Albinism has many signs from birth:

  • No color in the hair, skin, or iris of the eye
  • Very light skin or hair
  • Patchy, missing skin color

There are also many symptoms

  • Cross eyed
  • Sensitive to light
  • Rapid eye movements
  • Vision problems

Affects

  • Eyes
  • Skin
  • Hair

How people get it

It happens when someone has many genetic defects and are unable to produce the correct amount of melanin, which is a natural substance that gives your hair, skin, and iris of the eye, its proper color. It is passed down through families, so you can only receive it hereditarily.

Occurance

Albinism affects both male and females, and it is apparent from birth. Research shows that OCA 1 happens 1 in every 40,000 babies born, OCA 2 happens 1 in every 15,000 people, and ocular albinism happens 1 in every 50,000 people. Also, it has been confirmed it happens mostly to African or African-American humans.

Treatment

There is no known cure for Albinism, due to low melanin levels, the affected humans must use a very high SPF sunscreen or they will have dangerous burns on their body. They must wear adequate clothing when going outside, and sunglasses will help take away some of the sun sensitivity.

Prognosis

It usually does not affect the lifespan, although they must be careful when outside. If they are exposed to a lot of sun they can get a bad sun burn, later causing skin cancer. They also run the risk of going blind sometime in their life.

Diagnosis

It is usually diagnosed at birth, genetic testing is one of the best ways to determine if an individual has this disease or not. The doctor might diagnose you just by your appearance.

Work Cited

"Information on Albinism." NOAH. National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation. Web. 13 Mar 2014. <http://www.albinism.org/faq/report.html


Haldman-Englert, Chad. "Albinism." Medicine Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 Nov 11. Web. 13 Mar 2014. <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001479.htm>.