NEW YORK—The Laboratory for Familial Dysautonomia Research received a $100,000 grant from New York State to continue research of the neurological disease Familial Dysautonomia (FD), which affects people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent.

Led by Berish Rubin, Ph.D., chair of biological sciences, Fordham researchers discovered the genetic cause of the disease several years ago and later developed therapeutic treatments using basic vitamin supplements that have produced positive results in relieving the symptoms of FD.

“My research team has been able to quickly convert its discoveries into treatments that have improved the quality of life for FD sufferers,” said Rubin. “The funding will allow us to continue to focus our efforts to develop new therapies, and to refine existing ones.”

The disorder affects a person’s autonomic nervous system, which controls such involuntary functions as swallowing, digestion, temperature and blood pressure regulation. Victims often suffer from extended periods of uncontrollable retching, referred to as autonomic crises, brought on by extreme fluctuations in blood pressure. The lifespan of FD sufferers typically doesn’t surpass 30 years.

New York State Senator Senator Guy J. Velella helped to secure the grant for the laboratory’s research.