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PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
7-Aug-2013

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Contact: Janice Ascano, Ph.D.
jascano@rettsyndrome.org
International Rett Syndrome Foundation

International Rett Syndrome Foundation chief science officer receives prestigious military awards

Steven G. Kaminsky, Ph.D., receives prestigious Uniformed Services 'University Medal' and the 'Order of Military Medical Merit' awards

CINCINNATI, OH: August 7, 2013 - The International Rett Syndrome Foundation (IRSF), the world's largest and most comprehensive not-for-profit organization that funds novel research for treatments and a cure for Rett syndrome, has announced that Steven G. Kaminsky, Ph.D., received two incredibly prestigious awards at the 2013 Annual Family Conference in Midway, Utah this past June.

Dr. Steven Kaminsky leads the aggressive scientific research agenda at the International Rett Syndrome Foundation as the Chief Science Officer. Dr. Kaminsky, former Vice President for Research at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland, has a long distinguished career serving at a senior level for several universities and as a program officer at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The first award of the evening was The Order of Military Medical Merit, which was presented to Dr. Kaminsky by Brigadier General (Retired) Bill Bester. Dr. Kaminsky was recognized for his dedicated application of talent, effort and spirit which made a significant exemplary contribution to the United States Army Medical Department. This award grants the recipient membership to a unique, private organization founded by the Commanding General of U.S. Army Health Services Command in 1982 to recognize excellence and promote fellowship and esprit de corps among Army Medical Department personnel. Membership recognizes those individuals who have clearly demonstrated the highest standards of integrity and moral character, displayed an outstanding degree of professional competence, served in the Army Medical Department (for a minimum of 10 years) with selflessness, and have made a sustained contribution to the betterment of Army Medicine. This award is rarely given to a civilian.

The second award given to Dr. Kaminsky was the Uniformed Services University Medal which was presented by Dr. Larry Laughlin, MD, PhD. Dr. Kaminsky was recognized for his 11 years of outstanding service as Uniformed Services University Vice President for Research. He has advanced the frontiers of the scientific research at USU through passionate mentoring and educating junior faculty and by building trusting relationships with the National Institutes of Health and all research elements of the Military Services.

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About Rett syndrome

Rett syndrome (RTT), a postnatal neurological disorder, occurs almost exclusively in females. RTT results in severe movement and communication problems following apparently normal development for the first six to 18 months of life. Characteristic features of the disease include loss of speech and purposeful hand use, repetitive hand movements, abnormal walking, abnormal breathing, slowing in the rate of head growth and increased risk of seizures. Current treatment for girls with RTT includes physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, and medication for seizures. There is no known cure for RTT. In 1999 the gene associated with Rett syndrome was identified by the laboratories of Drs. Huda Zoghbi and Uta Franke and this advance has brought Rett syndrome to the forefront of research in neurology. In 2007, researchers heralded a major breakthrough by reversing RTT symptoms in mouse models. RTT is considered a "Rosetta Stone" that is helping scientists understand multiple developmental neurological disorders, and shares genetic links with other conditions such as autism and schizophrenia.

About Steven G. Kaminsky, Ph.D.

Author of numerous publications and abstracts, Dr. Kaminsky earned his bachelor of science in biology from Hobart College, received a masters degree in biology from Northern Michigan University and earned his doctorate degree in pathology at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is a member of several advisory boards including StrongSTAR Consortia for Psychological Health and the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program.

Dr. Kaminsky lives with his wife and two daughters in Frederick, Maryland. Kaminsky enjoys biking, hunting, golfing and dancing.

About IRSF and Rett syndrome

The International Rett Syndrome Foundation (IRSF) is the largest and most comprehensive not-for-profit 501c3 organization for parents, scientists, interested professionals and others concerned with Rett syndrome. The mission of IRSF is to fund research for treatments and a cure for Rett syndrome while enhancing the overall quality of life for those living with Rett syndrome by providing information, programs and services. IRSF is a proud recipient of the 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator. For more information, please visit IRSF's website at: http://www.rettsyndrome.org.

Rett syndrome strikes all racial and ethnic groups, and occurs worldwide in 1 of every 10,000 female births. Symptoms appear after an early period of apparently normal or near normal development until six to eighteen months of life, when there begins stagnation of skills, followed by a regression. Soon, stereotyped hand movements such as handwashing, gait disturbances, and slowing of the normal rate of head growth become apparent. Other problems may include seizures and disorganized breathing patterns. Currently, there is no cure or significant treatment for Rett syndrome.



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