Monday, March 20, 2006

What is SCID and ADA?

SCID stands for Severe Combined Immunodeficiency. That means that Parker's immune system does not work correctly. Your immune system is composed of white blood cells which are composed of different types of cells. Two of those are called T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes. The T-lymphocytes are matured in the Thymus Gland and go around fighting different viruses. The B-lymphocytes are divided further into different cells called immunoglobulins. These are antibodies and fight infection. Everyone has many different types of immunoglobulins to fight different types of infections.

A child with SCID has hardly any T or B-lymphocytes and as a result can not fight any virus, bacteria or fungus. This is why Parker remains in isolation. We want to reduce the probability that Parker comes in contact with any germs.

The form of SCID that Parker has is called ADA. This is actually a metabolic problem first and a immune problem second. Parker has toxins in his body that can inhibit his organs. For that reason, it is one of the more troublesome types of SCIDs.

ADA is a very rare genetic disorder. It is autosomal recessive meaning that his parents mut both be carriers of the gene that causes ADA and we both must give or gene that causes ADA deficiency. The statistics for baby to be born with with ADA is one child in every two million. The chances that we will have a child with ADA now that we know we both carry the gene is one in four.

We must say that we are lucky in the sense that we caught Parker's ADA relatively early. We have been in the hospital for 7 out of Parker's 9 weeks. The only way a child is normally diagnosed with SCIDs is to catch quite a few colds, infections, or usually pneumonia. By the time that does occur the child is usually about 6 months old. With Parker, he seemed to have caught broncheolitis or pneumonia at 2 weeks so we brought him to the hospital. They misdiagnosed Parker with pneumonia when he really was just having complications with the toxins and his lungs. In hindsite, Parker was lucky to obtain something that had similar symptoms to an infection. It allowed us to eventually have Parker diagnosed with SCID-ADA at Sick Kids in Toronto.

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