Randi Crabbe

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Nancy Wexler and Her Miracle

September13

Randi Crabbe
University of Mary Washington

The contents of this blog is for a class I’m taking in college named Beauty and Brains: Women in Science.  This class helps educate on the importance of female scientists all over the world throughout history and how their unspoken words can no longer go unnoticed.

Nancy Wexler 

Hey guys! I’m including some more great information about this extraordinary woman that i’ve found and would like to share.

I am going to be doing my presentation on Dr. Nancy Wexler, a Neuropsychologist.  She helped pioneer the advanced studies of Huntington’s disease and found the source of the diseased gene.  By doing this she traveled to Venuzuela where she tested the genes of this particular family and was able to trace where the gene first originated.  She came to conclude that if a child has one parent with the disease then its a 50/50 chance the child will also get it because the disease lies on chromosome 4.  Her studies also concluded that since the gene is not contagious but comes from shared chromosomes, most likely everyone who has Huntington’s disease must come from the same ancestors.

Nancy Wexler is mostly recognized as being the pioneer woman for Huntington’s disease and has received numerous awards for doing so.  “Dr. Wexler was recently elected to be a Fellow at the Royal College of Physicians; a Member of the American Academy of Arts and     Sciences; a Fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Section on Neuroscience; a Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts; and to the position of Councilor, Society for Neuroscience. She is an honorary Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences and a Member of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences. In 1993, she received the Albert Lasker Public Service Award.Dr. Wexler was recently elected to be a Fellow at the Royal College of Physicians; a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; a Fellow at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Section on Neuroscience; a Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts; and to the position of Councilor, Society for Neuroscience. She is an honorary Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences and a Member of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences. In 1993, she received the Albert Lasker Public Service Award.”

 

 

 

The male counterpart to Nancy Wexler is Donald O. Hebb who was also a Neurophyscologist.  He is known for laying the foundation for neuropsychology as he sought to understand how neurons in the brain contributed to psychological processes such as learning.  He studied brain damage as well as sensory deprivation which led him to propose a theory of how brain functions underlie the higher functions of the mind.

 

The following information contrasts the similarities and differences between both Nancy Wexler and Donald O. Hebb

Nancy Wexler
•July 19, 1945
•Neuropsychology
•Radford College
•Huntington’s disease
–Chromosome 4
•a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
•In 1993, she received the Albert Lasker Public Service Award.
•Became president of Hereditary Disease Foundation in 1969
•Helped discover the test that can tell a patient if they will develop the disease

Donald O. Hebb
•July 22, 1904 in Nova Scotia
•Neuropsychology
•Studied at the University of Chicago and later went to  Harvard University
•Rat brains
-Light and dark environments
• President of the American Physiological Association
•Distinguished Scientific Contribution award in 1961
•Donald O. Hebb Award to distinguished Canadian scientists
•He died Aug. 20, 1985, and was inducted into The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2003.

Though Nancy Wexler played a big part in the advancement of science, she was not compensated as much as her male counterpart Donald O. Hebb, but i do not believe it had anything to do with gender.  I think its just because they did completely different work than the other and Donald O. Hebb also held more positions than Nancy.

THE BLACK WOMAN PHYSICIAN PROJECT

The Association of Black Women Physicians began in 1982 in a meeting organized by Jessie L Sherrod, M.D., M.P.H, and its founder president.  This group has been a non-profit organization for over 25 years.  The women recognized the need for organized support for Black women pursuing professions in medicine.  The group officially adopted the name set their goals into a mission statement, formed by-laws and set about doing heroic work.  Today the group has grown to nearly 500 African American women committed to the improvement of public health and welfare through the advancement of knowledge concerning women and community health.  I think if the organization was not based on African Americans then Nancy Wexler would definitely be apart of it because both Nancy and the group help non-profit organizations and both strive to help better problems found in the world.  The organization helped raise awareness of the Alzheimer’s disease, a disease Dr. Wexler helped with.

I encourage everyone to check out youtube videos of Nancy Wexler and her trip to Venezuela. I posted one link on a different blog of mines. Please feel free to comment and let me know what you think! 🙂

 

I included in this blog a small part of my bibliography that helped aid me in my research.

Association of Black Women’s Physicians Newsletter. N.P. 2010 Web. http://www.blackwomenphysicians.org/beyond.php

Book Rags. “World of Genetics on Nancy Sabin Wexlr.” Web. 10 Sept. 2011
http://www.bookrags.com/biography/nancy-sabin-wexler-wog/

This website is a reference that sums up a bibliography on Dr. Wexler. The piece tells the life of Nancy Wexler and the many hardships she had to overcome to get to where she is now. It’s a great source for a quick overview of the book and even gives you the option of ordering the book online. The article is very accurate with the information it presents and even gives you the option to ask other users any questions about Nancy Wexler if the question wasn’t answered in the article.

Columbia Psychiatry. “Nancy Wexler Ph.D” Columbia University Medical Center. Web. 30 Aug. 2011
http://asp.cumc.columbia.edu/facdb/profile_list.asp?uni=nsw1&DepAffil=Psychiatry

This short report sums up the many accomplishments of Dr. Nancy Wexler. It provides brief facts about her career while also providing enough information to understand her growing legacy. The up to date information also includes the recent positions she currently holds. For research purposes this article is great for basic information

Murray Mary. “Nancy Wexler.” New York Times. 13 Feb. 1994: n. pag. Web. 30 Aug. 2011

This newspaper article tell the journey Nancy Wexler embarked on while trying to find a cure for the fatal Huntington’s disease, which was the cause of death of four of her close family members. The real-life events in the article give it an extremely personal touch as the reader is brought into Wexler’s life and family problems. Murray includes great detail in describing Wexler’s journey and the many quotes help make the story emotional. This source will be extremely useful in showing the dedication Wexler has with her studies, knowing her exact words in what she think and the determination she accumulates by experiencing tragedies throughout her life.

“Project ALERT – A New Link for Alzheimer’s Awareness” National Institute on Aging. N.d. http://www.nia.nih.gov/NewsAndEvents/Links/Links07Spring-Summer.htm

 

 

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