Medical Conditions You Can Inherit From Your Parents

Inheritable medical conditionsThere are many diseases and health concerns that a person can inherit from their parents; however, inheriting a mutated gene from one parent doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be at risk for a certain disease. Keep in mind genetic disorders are caused by the mutation of a gene. In some cases this genetic mutation can be transferred to a child. For a genetic disorder to transfer to a child, depends on the consistency of inheritance for the disorder. Continue reading

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How To Become A Geneticist

Genetics word cloudThe medical field of genetics is a broad range of expertise with many different paths to follow. One of these paths that ensure the student a rewarding and amazing career is that of a geneticist. The student first needs to determine whether they are a good fit for this awarding profession. The student must be stable and healthy mentally and emotionally. Continue reading

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Genetics And Their Role In Medical Conditions

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Could the Anti-Aging Secret Be as Easy As Switching a Genetic Switch?

Researchers have stumbled upon a new discovery that may suggest that the secret to winning the battle against aging could be as easy as switching a genetic switch.

Studies have found that restricting caloric intake is effective at slowing signs of aging and lenghtening our lifespan. Now, researchers at Tel Aviv University’s Blavatnik School of Coputer Science have been focusing on metabolic function to try to find the so-called aging genes. The researchers made a computer-based metabolic transformational algorithm (MTA) to predict which genes could be turned off to produce the same effect as restricting calories.

Using this algorithm, the researchers predicted the genes in yeast could be turned off to turn the genetic expression of old yeast into that of young yeast. Restricting calories has been shown to extend lifespan in yeast, and it’s typically used for a genetic model.

The team found two particular genes — GRE3 and ADH2 — that can lengthen the lifespan of the yeast when they are turned off. Next, they applied the algorithm to human metabolic information and found a set of genes that can change 40-70% of the differences between a young and old metabolic system.

Researchers have also looked into telomeres in our DNA, which are found at the end of the chromosomes. They have determined that telomere length can predict the likelihood of age-related problems like heart disease.

Telomeres are also considered a key to aging. Think of them as those plastic ends on your shoelaces. They prevent chromosomes from fraying and sticking, which would destroy genetic information. Still, every time a cell divides, this telomere gets a bit shorter. When the telomers are too short, the cell cannot divide any longer and it will become inactive or die. It is this shortening that is associated with aging, cancer and a whole host of other health problems. It’s also like a tiny bomb fuse inside of each one of our cells, and it’s why our cells are mortal. We do have immortal cells, which are egg and sperm cells. These cells have a special enzyme that continually adds to the telomeres, otherwise these cells would quickly die and we could not reproduce.

Over the years, we have seen more and more proof that aging is not really wear and tear, but rather a lack of replacement of the building blocks of our body that leads to aging, says Dr. Lovely C. Laban. According to Dr. Laban, that is the whole idea behind popular cosmetic treatments like this: As we age, our faces naturally lose volume due to genetic reasons. The body naturally begins to produce less collagen, which is why dermal fillers can make the face appear more youthful by replacing this lost volume.

Who knows. Maybe one day, rather than getting injections to restore signs of youth, we will actually take a pill that “fixes” our old, damaged cells and makes them act younger instead!

This is really such an interesting scientific advance, and it’s amazing to think what we will be capable of doing in the future. If you want to read more about the study, you can do so here.

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Common Surgical Options for Genetic Deformities

It was not very long ago that individuals born with even common genetic deformities were left with no options but to live with their individual issues. Of course, today there are many options available and many surgical procedures that are designed to restore normal function and appearance to help men, women and children live a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Cleft Palate/Lip Repair
Cleft lip and cleft palate are two of the most common birth defects in the world. This defect results in incomplete formation of the upper lip or the roof of the mouth, or both together. A cleft usually occurs very early in development, and it can be repaired during plastic surgery to restore a normal appearance and function.

Rhinoplasty for Functional Issues
It is not uncommon for genetic defects to affect the function of the nose. In many cases, these defects are not readily apparent, but they can cause breathing problems, chronic nasal infections and much more. According to plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Mounsey, a functional rhinoplasty or a revision procedure like this can be a good option to restore normal function to the nose. Depending on the patient’s desires, it does not even have to affect the outward appearance of the nose.

Orthopedic Surgery for Genetic Conditions of the Cervical Spine
There are many genetic conditions that may affect the cervical spine, each with its own symptoms, prognosis and treatment options. Some of these conditions are noticeable at birth, while others take years to develop. After a diagnosis, an individualized treatment plan will be created.

Surgical Repair of Webbed Fingers or Toes
Webbed toes or fingers, a condition called syndactyly, is fairly common. This condition will fuse two or more toes or fingers together with a webbing of skin. In some cases, the toes or bones can even be joined by muscles, bones or nerves. Present at birth, syndactyl affects about 1 in 3,000 babies, particularly boys who are Caucasian. Because this webbing can affect the function of the hands or feet, it’s typically corrected through surgery. This corrective surgery may be done in childhood as well.

Seeking a Surgeon
While some surgical conditions to correct defects are quite common, such as cleft palate surgery, some are highly specialized. If you have a child with a condition that should or may be corrected through surgery, make sure you seek out a board certified plastic surgeon who has extensive experience performing the procedure in question. It may also take some work to find a surgeon who is willing and able to perform the repairs that are necessary, and you need to be willing to travel in the case of a complex problem, such as a genetic defect of the spine.

Fortunately, health insurance often covers surgical intervention if it is medically necessary or to correct a defect. Your first stop should be talking with your health insurance company to find out which surgeons are covered, and what your co-pay will be. If necessary, you may find assistance through a charity, or even through a plastic surgeon who do donates work for those in need.

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Your Genes and the Ideal Skin Care

While your skin can be affected by many environmental factors, such as sun damage and smoking, your skin is affected by an even greater factor: the genes you inherited. Genes determine many different characteristics by telling our cells how to make proteins, which affect all of the functions and structures of the body.

There is no single skin gene, but rather hundreds of genes that work together to affect even a single trait, or many traits may be impacted by just one gene. Your skin is made up of many proteins, including collagen, which forms the structure of the skin and gives it its strength. Melanin, which is the pigmentation that gives your skin its color, is also a protein.

One of the newest trends in skin care is using your genes to determine the best skin care regimen, according to Dr. Walker, a Miami dermatologist (see Rather than buying products and hoping they work, many companies are now allowing you to send in a cheek swap and receive a full report with details of the potential problems with your skin so you can personalize your approach to skin care. If you learn you are at high risk for skin cancer, you can boost your use of sunscreen and antioxidants to prevent damage.

One of the more well-known of these companies is SkinShift, which provides a $300 test that analyzes 17 SNPs, which pertain to 5 skin health factors: the formation of collagen, sun protection, antioxidant protection, inflammatory control and glycation protection. You’ll then get a list of which products and ingredients you should look for.

While it can be really tempting to jump head-first into these new DNA tests for your skin, remember that there is still a great deal of unknown. We do know that specific genes are responsible for some specific skin problems, our genes can only tell us so much. We just don’t know yet if it’s a good idea to use genetic testing for the purpose of skin care. Make sure you use common sense and stick with ingredients that have been proven to work, such as sunscreen and Retin-A. You should also consult with a dermatologist if you have specific skin care concerns.

Hopefully in the future the concept of genomics can have a greater impact on the cosmeceutical industry with greater advances. It’s believed that the field of gene study can eventually improve product formulations to provide better effects for consumers while ensuring product safety as well as cost savings, as research may find that small amounts of expensive ingredients can produce the same effect. Currently, gene study is used in the skin care industry to determine how specific ingredients regulate gene expression and to create custom products based on your individual gene sequence. If you do find yourself interested in getting a personalized skin care regimen based on your genes, you can still give the DNA tests a try. Many dermatologists now offer such services, but remember to take it with a grain of rice.

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Who Will Baby Look Like?

There’s still so much we don’t know about our genes, and it’s impossible to predict whether a child will resemble mom or dad — or neither! When the sperm meets the egg, the right mix of genes can come together to express traits that neither parent possesses, such as a blonde-haired child born to brown-haired parents. Most of our traits are also the result of many genes working together, which means some effects can be reduced, amplified or switched off.

Modern science is still many years away from understanding parental inheritance completely, but we do know enough now to make some good guesses.

Hair and Eyes
We do know some genes that influence pigmentation of the eyes and hair, although it isn’t fully understood yet. Eye color can’t be predicted yet, but we are able to give a good guess. Light-colored eyes, including green, gray and blue, are recessive and usually show up when both parents have light eyes, although it can show up if one or both parents has brown eyes but carry genes for light-colored eyes.

In terms of hair, the level of darkness depends on how much melanin is produced. Genes for less melanin and light hair are recessive, while darker hair is dominant. Red hair is a special recessive gene. If it’s combined with genes for black or brown hair, it is often obscured completely. If it’s combined with genes for lighter hair, it can result in strawberry blond, light auburn or brilliant orange hair.

Height is complicated because, while genes do play a big role, so does gender, nutrition and exercise. Boys tend to be taller than girls, and researchers believe genetics and gender combined account for 70% of our height, but external factors like dit and health account for 30%. If you want to estimate how tall your child will be (accurate within 5 inches), add together the height of the parents, divide by two then subtract 3 inches for a girl or add 3 inches for a boy.

Intelligence appears to be based on genes as well as environment, although genetics do play a strong role. Researchers have found that identical twins (even if raised in different households) have an IQ difference of just 5.9 points. The more closely related two individuals are, the closer their IQ. Research has also found that genius is often a combination of superior genes.

We do know that prominent noses are dominant to smaller noses. Nose shapes also tend to run in the family, according to Dr. Kyle S. Choe, MD of, a plastic surgeon who often performs nose reshaping surgery for siblings. We have also recently discovered that there are five genes that help shape the face, but there are no common variants with large effects on facial features. Instead, there are most likely hundreds or thousands of variants that each have a small impact on the face. Researchers hope that within five years, they will be able to create some type of facial reconstruction with DNA.

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Rhinoplasty to Correct an Inherited Dorsal Hump

If you or someone you know has a dorsal hump on their nose, it may have occurred for two reasons; one, via genetics or via some sort of trauma to the nose. But how can you tell if a dorsal hump is there due to familial or acquired reasons? The answer is that this may not be possible. This is because, although genetics play an important role in many aspects of how we look, there are several external factors which can influence the anatomy of the nose.

External Factors That Can Cause Dorsal Hump
Facial plastic surgeon Dr. Shervin Naderi of reveals many possible causes of a dorsal hump on the nose, including the architecture of the nose, shape of the chin and even enlarged adenoids in childhood. Another way that a dorsal hump can develop is if some sort of fracture or severe trauma without a fracture occurs during a crucial stage of growth.

Rhinoplasty Approaches
The dorsal hump can be an excess of bone, cartilage or both. In some people, the hump exists on the bridge of the nose at the upper bony portion. And so for these cases, the rhinoplasty procedure would simply involve the removal of excess bone. In those cases where both excess bone and cartilage contribute to a dorsal hump, bone removal as well as shaving of the cartilage is done.

How much of a dorsal hump you are left with will depend on how well you’ve communicated your desires to your surgeon. Many surgeons offer digital morphing services right in their office so that patients can see how their nose will look following different levels of hump removal.

Skin Thickness As A Factor
While rhinoplasty is a perfectly safe and effective means of reducing or eliminate a dorsal hump on the nose, those with thicker skin on the nose may not be able to reduce hump size as much as they desire. The reason for this is that thicker skin may not be able to as effectively redrape or settle around the nose once the rhinoplasty procedure has been completed. If your skin is thicker, it’s also due to genetics!

What to Expect From Your Surgeon
Anytime you visit a surgeon for any procedure, you should benefit from expert-level knowledge about all aspects of pre and post-surgery. Not only should you have all the information you need before surgery, but you should leave your surgeon’s office completely satisfied.

Rhinoplasty is a very positive experience that gives you a brand new look that you can enjoy for a lifetime. And the best way to ensure that this happens is to thoroughly research surgeons before you choose the one who will be performing the procedure.

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The Facelift, A Common Solution to Genetic Issues

Are you angered by the sight of under-eye puffiness, jowls and other unsightly features? You may have your parents to blame. Although some of these genetic manifestations can be something that many women can live with, others seek a way to minimize or eliminate them. Many women opt for one of the most popular forms of plastic surgery: the facelift.

Can You Have The Procedure?
As long as your general health is sound, you should be able to undergo facelift surgery. Of course, it is recommended that you speak with your surgeon about your genetic issues to confirm your eligibility. You will need to provide as much detail as possible so that your surgeon completely understands the task before them.

Dr. Nathan Nachlas, MD, FACS, who specializes in this procedure, is one of many surgeons who requires good elasticity in the skin in order for successful facelift surgery to be performed. This is because good skin elasticity will allow for the skin to be adequately stretched and pulled during the procedure.

How Can A Facelift Benefit You?
Of course, the main benefit of having plastic surgery due to a genetic issue is that the issue is finally corrected. This can mean far less embarrassment or self-consciousness, which can reduce overall stress. Today’s facelift procedures also boast results that are long-lasting, which means it could be many years before you may need to revisit your surgeon’s office, if you ever do.

Another benefit of having a facelift is the fact that it is available to both male and female patients. This means that anyone can have a genetic issue corrected via facelift surgery.

Are there Any Risks?
As with any other form of surgery, facelift surgery does carry some risk. Pain and redness are both common conditions associated with facelifts, as incisions are made in various areas and can become painful. Usually, a surgeon will provide the patient with medication to ease the pain and prevent infection. However, if a high temperature is experienced, it is very important to get in touch with your surgeon as soon as you can.

How Long Will It Take Me To Recover?
The typical recovery time for facelift surgery is about one week. During this time, many surgeons will advise their patients to rest and avoid physical activity for this period. This will help the body to heal. Depending on the genetic issue being addressed with the facelift, it may result in a temporary change of diet as well.

The best advice is to gain as much knowledge as possible about the surgery so that you are well-informed before you even visit your surgeon’s office for the first time.

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Is There A Genetic Link To Bipolar Disorder?

The causes of bipolar disorder are not yet very clear to the medical community but a lot has been learned about the condition in the past decade. From the emotional highs to the lows (and everything in between these extremes), doctors now have a good understanding of how this condition manifests.

There are very many questions regarding whether or not there is a genetic connection that predisposes people to developing bipolar disorder. A number of researchers have set out to investigate this very matter and the findings have been eye-opening.

Twins and Bipolar Disorder
In a study investigating the occurrence of bipolar disorder in identical twins, findings established that there is a high likelihood that if one of those twins develops the disease, the other twin will also develop it. That was not the case with another sibling to the identical twins so the twins scenario points to genetics playing a big role in how this conditions manifests in families.

Dr. Andrew Campbell, a plastic surgeon, narrated an experience of a distraught patient that approached him to carry out a procedure like this on her that very day. Noting the irregularity of her request, he patiently took her through what the process entailed and her hysterical condition led him to ask questions that brought to light the fact that she had bipolar disorder, just like her identical twin sister.
That patient’s example illustrates how the condition can lead sufferers to take rash actions and if no professionals are available to help them, they could potentially harm themselves.

Children of Parents with Bipolar Disorder
Researchers at Stanford University looked into the incidence of bipolar disorder in children born to a parent or parents that had the disease. They found that if one of the parents had the disease, there was a more than 50% chance that the children would also develop it.

In fact, there was a greater likelihood that the children would get a mental disorder such as depression, ADHD, or low grade depression that is chronic. In parents that had ADHD in their childhood, researchers found that such parents had a very high likelihood of having children that had bipolar disorder rather than attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The more relatives there are with affective disorders, the higher the chance that others in that family would suffer from those conditions.

This connection does not only stop at children. Even other relatives become prone to major mental disorders if there is someone in the extended family that has bipolar disorder.

Final Thoughts
Much as the causes of bipolar disorder are not clearly understood, there is a lot that can be done to help sufferers get relief from the symptoms of the disease. The fact that a genetic link exists in showing who is likely to develop the disease should be seen as an early warning signal so that family members can be quickly helped when the disease does show up.

It is therefore important to keep you doctor informed if a case of bipolar disorder exists in the family so that the doctor can advise you on how best to keep yourself in good health should you start showing signs of affective diseases.

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Did Genes from Mom Give You Early Wrinkles?

If it seems like you’re getting crow’s feet and fine lines earlier than your friends, it may be mom’s fault. Scientists have recently found a set of genes passed down from our mothers that influences aging. When we get defective genes, we suffer from premature aging. This includes wrinkles as well as a shorter lifespan. Scientists also found that damage to the mitochondria, which turn food into energy, accelerates age-related health conditions.

After performing experiments on mice, a team of researchers from Germany and Sweden discovered that defective mDNA causes serious genetic disease, but even mild damage accelerates aging.

This is because the aging that we see and feel is really the result of many types of cell damage. Most of this damage comes from our lifestyle and environmental factors, but our genes also play a big role. There are three causes of aging skin: genetic aging, environmental aging (such as smoking or sun damage) and hormonal aging. All three cause collagen to break down over time, weakening elastin in the skin and causing skin to become lax with wrinkles and lost volume.

Genetic aging is natural and occurs over time. Some people are simply predisposed to developing wrinkles earlier than average, while some are blessed with genes that keep them looking younger than their age. Some people are so lucky they can maintain youthful skin just based on genetics, while most have to turn to skincare products, cosmetic surgery and lifestyle changes.

Defective mDNA plays a role in many age-related problems, including heart disease and dementia. mDNA is also more susceptible to damage than regular DNA, they discovered.

Researchers still aren’t sure how big a role damaged mDNA from mom plays in aging, but this research and more studies to come may one day help find a way to slow down aging.

The good news is just about 10% of how your skin ages is genetic. You do have control over how you take care of your skin, including staying out of the sun, avoiding smoking and using moisturizer, according to Dr. Alexander S. Donath, MD, who performs procedures like this in Ohio. Even if you get get genes for early facial aging, there are steps you can take to turn back the hands of time.

You can help counteract genetic aging by drinking plenty of water, using exfoliants to clean your skin and changing your lifestyle. Eat a diet rich in antioxidants like fruits and vegetables, give up smoking for good and wear sunscreen every day — even when it’s cloudy — to fight back against those genes you get from mom. Keep in mind the most common causes of premature facial aging, aside from genetics:

1. Smoking. Smoking is a toxin to your skin, and just about the worst thing you can do for your skin because it harms your body’s ability to heal itself. If you quit smoking, you can help undo some of the damage that’s been done to improve your skin tone and clarity.
2. Not wearing sunscreen. 90% of wrinkles come from sun exposure. The best way to maintain a youthful appearance is staying out of the sun and wearing sunscreen.
3. Not exercising. Exercise gives you that healthy glow because it dilates blood vessels in the skin and sends nutrient-rich blood to the area. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week.

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What You Should Have In Mind As You Go For Genetic Tests

Medical diagnostics has made such huge strides in the recent past. It is now possible to diagnose several conditions long before they make their presence known. This allows the individual to plan accordingly so that once the condition sets in, they are ready for it.

With that said, what should one have in mind as they make the decision to go and have some genetic tests run?

Probable Cause.
Before you go out to test whether or not a certain condition is genetic or not, there should be probable cause for you to have that suspicion. If, for instance, several people in your family tree have suffered from that condition (such as sickle cell anemia), you have all the reasons you need to have your DNA screened for that condition so that you can make some decisions regarding your future.

What Are The Costs?
Genetic tests can be quite expensive so before you have them run you should be aware of what those specific tests will cost you, and how you will meet that cost. This is particularly important given that insurance will not in most cases cover all those fees so you must have a plan regarding how you will make up the difference (if you have medical insurance) or pay the full fee (if you have no insurance cover).

Be Prepared For Any Outcome.
It is important to talk to a genetics counselor before you undergo the tests, and after you undergo the tests and they are positive for that condition that you wanted investigations to be carried out.

This counseling is important for several reasons. It can point you to the right experts to see. It can help you come to terms with the positive results that you receive and it can also help you to plan your next steps. You should therefore go for genetic tests when you know the results can swing either way, and be prepared to take whatever comes with those results.

Be Ready To Make Changes.
Before you go for genetic tests, ensure that you are ready to make changes that are necessary if the tests turn out to be positive for that condition. Those changes may include matters like reviewing your prospective spouse or deciding to have kids that will most certainly suffer from the condition you have both tested positive for.

Other changes may include matters of your career as certain lines of work may trigger the onset of the condition for which you have tested positive. A case in point are muscle degenerative conditions; if you are a pro athlete, chances are high that the condition will set in early so you have to be prepared to change career in order to delay its onset.

Summing it up…
Facial plastic surgeons at The Glasgold Group, who perform cosmetic and reconstructive procedures like this, say that genetic tests even help them, too. Cleft lips are some of the conditions where they intervene and when a patient got it due to genetic factors, they advise the family to be on the lookout for other kids that may have the problem.

Genetic testing is therefore of great value to us all and we should make it a part of the tests that we undergo from time to time.

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The Genetic Basis for Keloid Scarring and Treatment Options

Our genes truly define us; they help define our personality, thought process, appearance, and how our bodies function. Our genes can also make us more prone to certain medical conditions, or affect the way our bodies heal.

Keloid scarring is a fairly common problem, and new evidence now shows a genetic component for this condition. Keloids are growths of extra scar tissue where the skin has healed itself. Keloids may form from acne, burns, chickenpox, minor scratches or serious trauma, and they are more common in people aged 10 through 20, but they can happen to anyone.

Researchers have found that keloids tend to run in families, and they are most common among people with darker skin, particularly African Americans. So far, no single gene mutation has been found to be responsible for keloid disease, but its present in twins and the fact that it runs in families and is more common among people of certain ethnicities presents a strong case for a genetic cause. What we do know is genetic predisposition affects the quality and level of the scar tissue formed in a wound.

Who Gets Keloids?
Keloid disease results in abnormal wound healing, which may leave patients with disfiguring scars. Darker skinned people have a higher predisposition to developing keloids and it affects about 4-6% of people, and up to 16% of black Africans. Caucasians of northern European ancestry, on the other hand, have an incidence of keloid scarring that is less than a tenth of a percent.

Individuals who are genetically susceptible to keloids do not always develop them. There are also several congenital syndromes associated with keloid disease, including Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, Geominne syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

Treatment for Keloids
While most keloid scars are benign and do not require treatment, they can require removal or treatment if they are located in an area that restricts movement or causes disfigurement. According to Dr. Batniji, who appears in this video, the decision to treat a keloid depends on the symptoms associated with its development and its location, and the risk of keloids must be considered before performing any number of procedures, such as this.

Cortisone injections are a common treatment for keloids, as injections are safe and usually not very painful. Keloids are injected with cortisone once a month until maximum benefit is achieved to flatten the keloid, but it can also make the keloid redder, which may then require laser treatment.

Laser treatment is effective at flattening keloids and reducing the redness, although laser treatment can be expensive and it is rarely covered by insurance. Some dermatologists use cryotherapy to freeze keloids with liquid nitrogen, which may flatten the scar but it often darkens the area.

Finally, surgical removal is a possibility. Dr. Batniji stresses that this is risky, because cutting into a keloid can trigger the formation of a new keloid, which may be similar in size or even larger. Some surgeons have greater success by injecting steroids into the wound site after the keloid is surgically removed.

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What Are the Uses of Genetic Testing?

With the passage of time, it has become apparent that the entire human genetic code is now available to scientists. From this, it is now possible to test someone and predict the full range of diseases that they are likely to suffer from based on what is in their genes.

While this announcement is a welcome development, there are those who are apprehensive about this information while there are those that are elated by the prospects presented by this complete code.

To what different uses can such information be put?

The Good Side.
When you know that you have a genetic predisposition to a certain disease, it is possible for you to make a decision to take preventive measures so that you can forestall that illness from attacking you, or reduce how severely the condition can affect you once it manifests.

One of the preventive measures can be to stop habits that would quicken the onset of the disease. A habit like heavy smoking can bring on lung cancer much sooner than it would have struck had the person avoided taking to cigarettes.

Another way in which people can use this information from genetic tests is that people can prepare for that time when the disease eventually strikes. One can for instance begin making insurance payments towards their later treatment needs when they are no longer able to work due to the ravages of the disease.

The Ugly Side.
Take a look at insurance companies. How would they react if they knew that a person was very likely to suffer from a certain debilitating disease? They would certainly refuse to cover such a person, or they would make them pay through the nose (high premiums) for the policy that they want.

That is a very nasty possibility and one shudders to imagine the widespread suffering that people would go through if insurance companies demanded genetic tests before allowing you to buy a policy.

Employers too cannot be expected to respond in a different way from insurers. Many would fire or refuse to hire people that they knew were prone to serious genetic diseases. Widespread discrimination would be practiced at workplaces and laws would not be able to cope with this issue since many forms of discrimination are so subtle that it would be hard to provide evidence before a court of law.

The possibility of such negative outcomes would make people very reluctant to get tested since the drawbacks of such tests would far exceed any benefits they would get.

Final Thoughts.
Dr. Ronald A. Lohner, MD, FACS, who carries out procedures like the one depicted on this page advises that it is always good to have as much information about your health as possible. That information is vital to protecting you from conditions that would affect your quality of life so instead of fearing the negative consequences that may result one can plan how to minimize those negative outcomes in a way that doesn’t deny them the benefits that possessing that information accords. Is there a better way to end this discussion?

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How Do Genetics Influence Breast Cancer Risk?

If you have a family member who has had breast cancer, you are more at risk to develop the disease than someone without a family history of cancer.

DNA Abnormalities
Your genes control your cell function and growth. Errors result in faults in that function or growth. When the genes that control normal breast cells and repair cell damage have mutations or abnormalities, the risk for breast cancer is higher. These are passed from one generation to the next. The mutation does not mean that you will develop breast cancer, but your risk is higher.

Women diagnosed with breast cancer, who have abnormalities in their genes, may also have a family history of cancer of various types. However, most people who do develop breast cancer did not get it through an abnormal gene.

Likelihood of an Abnormal Breast Cancer Gene
You are more likely to have an abnormal gene if:
There has been both ovarian and breast cancer in your immediate family, especially if it was in one individual
You have mother, grandmother, aunts or sisters on either side of your family who were diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 50
Any women in your family developed cancer in both their breasts
You have other cancers related to glands in your family – This includes colon, pancreatic or thyroid cancer.
Your heritage is Eastern European Ashkenazi Jewish
Any male in your family developed breast cancer
You are of African American descent and have had breast cancer at the age of 35 years or younger
You will not necessarily have abnormal breast cancer genes even if someone else in your family does.

American Averages
A woman who lives in the United States will have roughly a 12 to 13% chance of breast cancer sometime in life. If you have the abnormal genes, your chances of developing breast cancer may be closer to 80%. In addition, if you are a woman with the abnormal breast cancer gene, your risk is also higher for thyroid, pancreatic, colon or ovarian cancer, or melanoma.

Men who carry the abnormal gene face a higher risk of breast cancer, as compared to men who do not. They have roughly an 8% chance of breast cancer by the age of 80. This is almost 80 times higher a risk than the average man. Breast cancer in men has not been as adequately studied as the disease has been in women.

Women and Mastectomies
Even with the technological advances in modern medicine, mastectomies are still often necessary, in order to ensure that the cancer does not spread. Lymph nodes are usually removed at the same time. In some cases where cancer is suspected, a minor procedure is performed that will allow your physician to remove a small portion of your breast, for biopsy.

For women who have had mastectomies, the option is open to have breast reconstruction and breast augmentation. These are two of the procedures done by Dr. Douglas Steinbrech, M.D., F.A.C.S., who specializes in procedures like this.

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