Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Huntington's disease--a case of genetic determinism

After yesterday's blog I said that most genes are not deterministic and the some genes confer some risk of some disease either alone or in combination with other genes. The Huntington's Disease gene is different. Inherit this one and the disease is yours. For a truly gripping account of one man's decision to test or not test, check out the June 16th New York Magazine, Mind Bomb by Kevin Baker. Kevin's mother has the disease and he has watched her decline over the past 13 years. Is he witnessing his future? You have to read the article to find out but regardless of his fate, the very act of taking the test is fraught with caution, process and bravery. This test is not one that is undertaken lightly. As one nurse put it, once you know, you cannot not know.
Read the article. It's an enlightening tale of what all of our futures could be like as we learn more about what our own genes mean for our future health.
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