The Causes and Cures for Cystic Fibrosis

Essay by stevolauHigh School, 10th gradeA+, December 2002

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This essay is about the origin of the hereditary disease Cystic Fibrosis. it includes ways in which it can be treated and how a person obtains it. It was assigned after watching the movie Alex:The Life of a Child, about a girl who was born with Cystic Fibrosis, and was only expected to live a few days, but lived until she was six. The rerason this was assigned was to discover the scientific advances in the area of Cystic Fibrosis, such as research and possible cures.

The Causes and Cures for Cystic Fibrosis


According to old northern European folklore, a child that tasted salty when kissed upon the forehead was bewitched and would soon die. Today we know the reason -the genetic disease, cystic fibrosis or CF. It is a chronic, progressive disease and the most common, fatal inherited disorder in the United States. About 30,000 Americans suffer from cystic fibrosis, and 2500 babies are born in the U.S.

with the disease each year. While all races and ethnic groups may suffer from the disease, it occurs most often in whites whose ancestors came from northern Europe. About 1 in every 20 Americans is an unaffected carrier of the disease because they have one abnormal "CF gene".

What Does CF Do?

Patients with CF produce a thick, sticky mucus; much thicker than a healthy person. The buildup of this mucus clogs ducts and body tubes, leading to chronic tissue inflammation and the replacement of injured cells with scar tissue which blocks the airways of the lungs and ducts in the pancreas and liver. In the lungs, this mucus impairs breathing and causes chronic bacterial infections. Lung disease is the main cause of death from cystic fibrosis. Occlusion of ducts in the pancreas prevents digestive enzymes produced...