Am I My Genes?: Confronting Fate and Family Secrets in the by Robert Klitzman

By Robert Klitzman

Within the fifty years on account that DNA used to be came across, we've seen awesome advances. for instance, genetic checking out has swiftly enhanced the prognosis and therapy of illnesses corresponding to Huntington's, cystic fibrosis, breast melanoma, and Alzheimer's. yet with this new wisdom comes tough judgements for numerous humans, who strive against with worry approximately no matter if to get confirmed, and if that is so, what to do with the consequences. Am I My Genes? indicates how actual members have faced those concerns of their day-by-day lives.

Robert L. Klitzman interviewed sixty four those that confronted Huntington's sickness, breast and ovarian melanoma, or Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. The e-book describes--often within the person's personal words--how every one has wrestled with the immense implications that genetics has for his or her lives and their households. Klitzman indicates how those women and men fight to make experience in their main issue and its explanations. They confront a sequence of quandaries--whether to be demonstrated; even if to reveal their genetic dangers to oldsters, siblings, spouses, offspring, associates, medical professionals, insurers, employers, and faculties; find out how to view and comprehend themselves and their genetics; what remedies, if any, to pursue; no matter if to have childrens, undertake, reveal embryos, or abort; and even if to take part in genetic groups. within the face of those uncertainties, they've got attempted to appreciate those assessments and chances, keep away from fatalism, nervousness, melancholy, and discrimination, and locate wish, that means, and a feeling of wholeness. compelled to wander via a barren region of transferring sands, they chart paths that many others may perhaps finally persist with.

Klitzman captures the following the voices of pioneers, many of the first to come across the private dilemmas brought by way of smooth genetics. Am I My Genes? is a useful account in their adventure, one who becomes the entire extra universal within the coming years.

"An awesome exploration...probing the various roles and implications of genetics in our lives today.... choked with superb insights, this riveting e-book is key analyzing for us all." -- Paula Zahn

"Klitzman lucidly discusses the ethical and mental complexities that are available the wake of genetic testing.... a major booklet for someone who has the genes for pathology, that is we all, and that i suggest it highly." -- Kay Redfield Jamison, writer of An Unquiet brain

"An illuminating voyage during the scientific, familial and existential quandaries confronted by way of these folks at genetic risk." -- Thomas H. Murray, President and CEO, The Hastings heart Show

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Additional info for Am I My Genes?: Confronting Fate and Family Secrets in the Age of Genetic Testing

Sample text

In addition, awareness of the genetic bases of many cases of breast, ovarian, and other forms of cancer is rapidly advancing. Assumptions of Being Mutation-Negative Not surprisingly, others want to be disease-free, and assume they are mutationnegative. Karl was unfortunately sexually abused by his HD-affected father, underscoring the terrible possible effects of this disease in a family. Karl felt that he himself did not have the HD mutation, because he did “not want” to have it. The possibility horrified him.

As a result, as Yvonne said, “A lot of patients . . know more about this than the doctors,” which can create strains in receiving treatment and interacting with providers. Alternatively, doctors may know of a rare genetic disease, but not think of it in diagnosing a patient—in part because they have not seen it before. Hence, some patients may learn about their disease only through the experiences of relatives—even offspring. Jennifer, a schoolteacher, was diagnosed with Alpha only after a physician tested her son.

Luckily, she learned that she lacked the mutation. Testing was sought, too, to eliminate the anxieties surrounding ongoing self-assessments and examinations, which themselves induce stress. Yet this motivation may prove strongest among those who believe they lack the mutation. Testing can also result from wishes to reduce anxieties about possible symptoms—for example, to ascertain that momentary forgetfulness is normal, rather than due to HD. Yet, as mentioned, with HD these issues can become very complicated, since anxiety can itself be a symptom of the disease.

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