There are few families who are not affected in some way by genetic disorders, whether a crippling and devastating disease like cystic fibrosis, a chronic condition like high blood pressure, or a predisposition to alcoholism or mental illness. We know that heart disease, diabetes, and cancer all tend to “run in families.” Yet few of us know very much about genetic disorders–what they are, how they are transmitted, how they may be screened or treated, or even how to find information on them. Indeed, few of us know whether we or our children are at risk from such disorders.
While geneticists have long been interested in genealogy and genealogists in genetics, only recently have the two fields become linked in a way that promises dramatic advances in our understanding of the relationship between genetic disorders and ancestry. This book, by Los Angeles Times Syndicate columnist Myra Gormley, was a pioneering effort to explore that relationship, to alert people to things they and their family ought to know about both their family tree and genetic research, and to examine the scientific breakthroughs that have made possible the control and treatment of some inherited diseases.
Written in a popular style, in language few of us will find difficult to understand, this ground-breaking work examines the genetics revolution and its implications for your health; it discusses genetic diseases and whether you and your family may be at risk; and it explores your mental and behavioral roots–your genetic susceptibility to manic depression, for example, or to alcoholism–all in the framework of ancestry and family health history. And if the question of ancestry should prove vexing, the books shows you how comparatively simple it is to trace your family history, establish your medical pedigree, and construct your own family health tree.
With a new Preface by the author enumerating a number of important publications on the topic of genealogy and genetics since the appearance of Family Diseases: Are You at Risk?.