Jen brought up an interesting topic for further discussion on genetics
and illness, in our comment conversation in the last post on Patrick
Tracey's book, Stalking Irish Madness. There are those of you out
there who are not as thrilled with the idea of genealogical research,
as I am. I know, it can be a tad dry. But take a minute to play it
forward, on a more personal level.
There is now a do-it-yourself DNA test, that can detect major
inherited genetic risk factors for diseases. It's what you might call
a genetic health scan. They can scan our genomes and tell us what
diseases are likely in our future. It is amazing that our DNA, once a
mystery, is suddenly a hot commodity. There are over two dozen
companies competing for it in cyberspace. This hot new technology
is fascinating, whether it's to find our illusive roots or chart our
future. Why wouldn't we want to have a peep in the crystal ball of
our future health?
But, what if the test showed your risks for heart disease to be
genetically low? Would this talk you out of taking care of yourself?
Granted, most testing companies don't take lifestyle issues, like
smoking, or family history into account, even though both can
bump the odds up or down. What if your genetic DNA shows the
odds of developing Alzheimer's is high? Would you rather be
Be careful about reading health books.
You may die of a misprint.
photo: wisteria vine at willlow manor