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Editorial NEW RESEARCH ON VIRAL DISEASES AND DEAFNESS For almost 40 years professionals in deafness have known about most of the birth defects associated with prenatal rubella. Current and ongoing research in Australia and under Dr. Walter Nance at the Maryland School for the Deaf indicates that there may be some rubellarelated defects that begin to appear in the teenage years. For example, diabetes mellitusmin/ be present in between 20 and 40% of these young people. It is of prime importance that schools and parents be aware of this potential illness in order that screening for it can be done. Diabetes can have serious physical effects such as blindness , if untreated. There are psychological correlates , including anxiety and depression. We need to be preparing rehabilitation programs to handle the large numbers of rubelladeafened youth from the 1963-1965 epidemic who will be 19-years-old in the 1982-1984 period. Without careful planning, this huge "bulge" of young people needing college and vocational education will swamp existing facilities. It is somewhat ironic that the rubella vaccine has not eliminated rubella as a cause of deafness . Although there have been no epidemics since the advent of the vaccine in 1969, the disease still causes about 12% of the deafness among children in programs for the hearing impaired. There is also doubt about how long the immunity from the vaccine will last. Should it continue only for a period of 10-15 years, many of those now being vaccinated would become susceptible to the disease at the height of their childbearing years. Along with rubella's impact on deafness, new research is indicating potential dangers to hearing from other viruses. For example, Herpes Simplex, the virus which causes cold sores, sometimes infects the genitals. In fact, today Herpes now ranks second only to gonorrhea as a venereal disease. It is epidemic, especially in colleges. This virus can cause deafness and other defects in children born of mothers who are infected. The impact of Herpes on the number of deaf children to be born in coming generations is as yet unknown. The Annals will soon publish an article by a physician on Herpes Simplex and some of the other viruses which research is now implicating as causes of hearing loss. OTHER ITEMS • The appointment of Mr. Albert Pimentel as new Executive Director of the National Association of the Deaf is good news. It means that the key position internationally in the entire field of deafness is in excellent hands. • Test cases involving aspects of PL 94-142 continue to fill the appeal and court system. One consensus which seems to be deriving from these cases is that the deaf student in public school has a right to an interpreter. The Rowleys , deaf parents of a deaf child, faced a school system which tried to deny their daughter the right to an interpreter. Fortunately, justice won out and young Miss Rowley will have an interpreter . The Rowleys deserve the gratitude and respect of everyone in deafness for having the courage and determination to fight for their daughter's rights. Sad to say there were educators of the deaf testifying to deny the deaf youngster an interpreter. • Dr. Frank Bowe, Executive Director of the American Coalition of Citizens with Disabilities , has just finished a book, Rehabilitating America, which attempts to present the financial cost and dividends of current legislation such as PL 94-142, sections of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 such as 503 and 504, and the SSI and SSDI programs of Social Security. While questions can be raised about the accuracy of Dr. Bowe's estimates, he deserves praise for being the first person to make a genuine attempt to "cost out" some of these major laws and regulations. It is a sad testimony on fiscal responsibility and government that this was not completely and validly done prior to passage of the legislation. McCoy Vernon Editor A.A.D. I June 1980 459 ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-0375
Print ISSN
0002-726X
Pages
p. 459
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-22
Open Access
No
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