Albinism is a congenital disease in which the formation of a melanin pigment, a special substance on which the coloration of tissues depends, is disturbed to a greater or lesser extent. Albinoes do not contain this pigment of hair, skin and eye shells.
According to statistics, albino is born about one person from 20 thousand. The absence of pigment is especially striking in races with dark skin color.
It is believed that somewhat more albinism occurs at the descendants of the Indians and the inhabitants of Africa: in Nigeria there is 1 case of albinism for 3 thousand inhabitants, and among the Indians of Panama and altogether 1 to 132. The total number of albinos is approximately 1% of the total population of the planet.
The disease occurs in representatives of all races. Patients are forced throughout their lives to suffer from oblique views of others due to their unusual appearance.
Why do healthy parents produce an albino child?
The cause of albinism is the disturbance in the genes responsible for the synthesis of the tyrosinase enzyme. It is he who is responsible for the normal education of melanin, which provides coloring to the skin, hair and other structures.
Depending on the degree of damage to the gene, the violation of the synthesis of melanin may vary from full block to small deviations. In some cases, tyrosinase levels in patients are normal. They detect a violation in the gene responsible for the production of another enzyme.
What are albinos?
There are many varieties of albinism, each of which has its own peculiarities. Allocate eyes-skin albinism and eye albinism, in which only eyes are disturbed. With a full block of melanin, patients have white skin and hair.
They have translucent blue eyes that turn red in the light. This effect is created by the blood vessels of the eyeball that translucent through a translucent iris. Of eye pathologies are often oblique, nystagmus, myopia and astigmatism.
What threatens the absence of pigment
Albinism is not just a flaw in appearance. The absence or reduction of the concentration of melanin in the structures of the eye violates the normal development of the ocular system. This leads to the formation of squinting albinos and progressive loss of vision. Conventional forms of strabismus are successfully treated by surgical methods, but with albinism, they have extremely low effectiveness.
Melanin protects us from the harmful effects of ultraviolet irradiation. Its absence eliminates skin and eye structure. Albinos are prone to sunburn. They have a significantly increased risk of developing skin cancer. Therefore, they have to be carefully protected with sunscreens and glasses.
Often, with albinism, adjacent genes are also affected, leading to the formation of various syndromes. So, with Chegiak-Higash syndrome there is a combination of albinism with congenital immunity decline. Angela's syndrome is accompanied by a decrease in mental development, microcephaly, hypotension and ataxia.
In the traditional society of African and island states there was a mixed attitude to albino. For example, on the island of Fiji, albinos have long enjoyed particular respect and occupy a high position in society. A special attitude to albino in India - there is a cult of albinos in this country.
What you can not say about African countries: the existence of albinism here is accompanied by superstitious interpretations, and people with this illness most often become rogue.
In the United States, the rights of albinos are defended by the Organization of Representatives of Albinism and Hypopigmentism (OPAG), which its members call the Union of Colorless. In a number of African countries, for example in Tanzania, there are networks of clinics that advise parents of children of albinos and provide medical care.