Tuesday, August 08, 2017

New Mexico-originated disease killing hundreds of residents

SANTA FE, NM — It's a disease hardly anyone has ever heard of. It’s targeting and killing New Mexicans by the hundreds. Cerebral cavernous malformation is a genetic disease where blood cells clump together, weakening their walls and causing them to leak blood. When that happens in the brain, it leads to headaches, seizures and potentially death. The vast majority of the people who have the disease still live in the Land of Enchantment. “We have found that the common denominator was Cristobal Baca, who was one of the original founders here in New Mexico,” Nora Chavez, with the Baca Family Project said. Since the 1600s, the Baca family line has spread all across the state, infiltrating dozens of New Mexican families. The scary part is, if you have CCM, you have a 50 percent chance to pass it on to your kids. Right now, approximately 1 million people in the country have the disease, but only 30,000 are diagnosed. This means hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans potentially have the deadly disease and don't even know it. But soon that will change. University of New Mexico Hospitals are teaming up with a group called The Baca Family Project. They will be able to perform a quick swab test that will show people if they have the CCM gene. They hope getting more people involved in research will help find a cure. KOAT

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