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About
Everything you need to know about Wilson Disease
 
Wilson disease is a genetic disorder that is fatal unless detected and treated before serious illness from copper poisoning develops. Wilson disease affects approximately one in 30,000 people worldwide. The genetic defect causes excessive copper accumulation in the liver or brain.
 
Small amounts of copper are as essential as vitamins. Copper is present in most foods and most people have much more copper than they need. Healthy people excrete copper they don't need but Wilson disease patients cannot.
 
Copper begins to accumulate immediately after birth. Excess copper attacks the liver or brain, resulting in hepatitis, psychiatric, or neurologic symptoms. The symptoms usually appear in late adolescence. Patients may have jaundice, abdominal swelling, vomiting of blood, and abdominal pain. They may have tremors and difficulty walking, talking and swallowing. They may develop all degrees of mental illness including homicidal or suicidal behavior, depression, and aggression. Women may have menstrual irregularities, absent periods, infertility, or multiple miscarriages. No matter how the disease begins, it is always fatal if it is not diagnosed and treated.
 
The first part of the body that copper affects is the liver. In about half of Wilson disease patients the liver is the only affected organ. The initial physical changes in the liver are only visible under the microscope. When hepatitis develops, patients are often thought to have infectious hepatitis or infectious mononucleosis when they actually have Wilson disease hepatitis. Testing for Wilson disease should be performed in individuals with unexplained, abnormal liver tests.
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Jean P. Perog
Jean P. Perog President
Jean is a retired CPA living in Merritt, British Columbia. She has WD and has a brother with WD. Jean also served as Treasurer of the Wilson Disease Association and is an active volunteer in her community.
Carol Terry
Carol Terry Vice President
Carol was diagnosed in 1973 with WD and is a retired US Government accountant. She helped found the WDA in 1983 and served as its President for ten years. She also served as Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary.
Mary L. Graper
Mary L. Graper VP Scientific Affairs
Mary has over 25 years experience as a volunteer leader, and is recognized for her creativity, organizational and leadership skills. She holds a B.S. degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Jeanne A. Friedman
Jeanne A. Friedman Secretary
Jeanne is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has WD. She has been with Wilson Disease Association since 2013 and lives in Kew Gardens, New York.
Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh Treasurer
Stephen lives in Boulder, Colorado and has a daughter with WD. He went to college at the University of Colorado and graduated with a B.S. in finance.

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