Min A Kim

What is it?
Albinism is a disease that results in little or no production of pigment melanin in the eyes, hair, or skin. It affects all races and causes vision problems. People with albinism are highly sensitive to sun exposure and have a higher risk of having skin cancer.
How does it occur?
Albinism occurs when a mutation occurs in one of the genes and interferes with the production of melanin.
There are both insertion and deletion mutations for albinism. For most types of albinism, each parent must be a carrier of a mutated gene for their kid to have albinism.

Albinism can be divided into two main types and the first type (OA1) affects the eyes only. The skin and eye colors are usually normal but will not have coloring in the back of the eye, which is the retina. Hermansky-Pudlak syndrome, also known as HPS, is another type of albinism which is caused by a single gene. Bleeding disorder, and lung and bowel diseases can be caused with it.
There are other types that may cause loss of coloring in some areas only:
- Chediak-Higashi syndrome (lack of color all over the skin but not completely)
- Tuberous sclerosis (small parts of skin without color)
- Waardenburg syndrome (no coloring in one or both irises)

Benefits & Limitations
There are no cures for albinism. Yet, there are ways to lessen the effect. People with albinism should not be exposed to sun because they get sunburned easily. Also, sunscreen should have a high sun protection factor (SPF). Visions can improve with eye surgery or contact lenses or glasses (sometimes bifocal glasses). In addition, eye muscle surgery can correct abnormal eye movements (nystagmus). Sometimes, children with albinism can use an eye patch to exercise the unpreferred eye. Furthermore, they should wear sun glasses to protect their eyes from the sun.

Cultural & Economical & Social & Ethical
In the Sub-Sahara desert, there has been a deadly discrimination of the albino people. In 2008, a minimum of 35 patients of albinism were killed in Tanzania. This was also caused by the witch doctors’ belief of how an albino’s limbs, blood, skin and hair bring good luck. Therefore, people murder albinos and sell their dead bodies to witch doctors to earn money. This problem also has to do with ethical issues since a rumor is just a rumor and even if the rumor is true, it can not be a reason for murder. Patients with albinism are also human beings and should not be discriminated.

Works Cited
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