Muscular Dystrophy Association

introduced into a genetically engineered virus that would then bind to afflicted muscle cells, where it would transfer normal dystrophin gene to the weakened muscles.

Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) A voluntary health agency dedicated to conquering neuromuscular diseases that affect more than a million Americans.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association combats neuromuscular diseases through programs of worldwide research, comprehensive medical and community services, and professional and public health education. With national headquarters in Tucson, Arizona, MDA has more than 200 offices across the country, sponsors 230 hospital-affiliated clinics, and supports nearly 400 research projects around the world. The association offers medical examinations, flu shots, support groups, MDA summer camps, and financial assistance to buy wheelchairs and leg braces.

The association supports more research on neu-romuscular diseases than any other private organization in the world. MDA scientists have uncovered the genetic defects responsible for several forms of muscular dystrophy, including Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease), childhood spinal muscular atrophy, and several other neuromuscular conditions.

The association was created in 1950 by a group of adults with muscular dystrophy, parents of children with muscular dystrophy, and a physician-scientist studying the disorder. Since its earliest days it has been energized by its national chairman, entertainer Jerry Lewis, who hosts an annual Labor Day telethon in support of muscular dystrophy research.

The association's programs are funded almost entirely by individual private contributors. The MDA seeks no government grants, United Way funding, or fees from those it serves. (For contact information, see Appendix I.)

mushroom poisoning Since the 1970s, the United States has seen a marked increase in mushroom poisoning due to an increase in the popularity of natural foods, the use of mushrooms as recreational hallucinogens, and the gourmet qualities of wild mushrooms. About 90 percent of the deaths due to mushroom poisoning in the United States and western Europe result from eating a type of mushroom known as the Amanita phal-loides. Higher death rates of more than 50 percent occur in children less than 10 years of age.

out of the more than 5,000 varieties of mushrooms found in the United States, about 100 are toxic—and most of these cause only mild stomach problems. A few, however, can cause fatal reactions. Most of the toxic symptoms are caused by the stomach irritants that lead to the vomiting and diarrhea common in mushroom poisoning. In most cases onset of symptoms is rapid, but if the onset is delayed past six to 12 hours, the more serious toxins may be suspected.

Although only an expert can tell for sure if a mushroom is poisonous by looking at it, in general mushrooms growing in the ground are more dangerous than mushrooms growing on living trees, and mushrooms on the forest floor are usually more dangerous than mushrooms on lawns. Since the first report of mushroom poisoning in 1871, much of the information about poisonous mushrooms is inaccurate—including the persistent belief that there are some ironclad "rules" that can be used to tell the difference between edible and toxic varieties. In fact, there is no rule that applies equally to all species. For example, it is not true that a silver spoon or coin put in a pan with cooking mushrooms will turn black if the mushrooms are poisonous. All mushrooms will discolor silver in boiling water, if they are rotten, but no mushroom ever does as long as it is fresh. Toxic mushrooms will not get darker if soaked in water, nor will they get milky if soaked in vinegar.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of mushroom poisoning include nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, and watery or bloody diarrhea.

Treatment

There is no specific antidote for mushroom poisoning, but several advances in treatment have lowered the death rate over the last several years. Early replacement of lost body fluids has been a major factor in improving survival rates. The fol

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