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Genetically Speaking Blog

How to Protect Your Mental Health When Genetics Make You Vulnerable

Jehannine Austin, Ph.D., CGC 0 984

While many people know that genetic counselors work with families concerned about conditions caused entirely by genes, people are often less familiar with the idea that we also work with families affected by health conditions caused by a combination of genes and our experiences. Psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder are a few examples. 

Code Talker Awards: Lisa Johnson A Rare Friend

Shana Anderson 0 617

Her voice was sweet, but the words hurt. There was nothing she could do to take the pain away or ease the sting. After four consecutive miscarriages, this pregnancy entered the second trimester, so we felt hopeful — but the celebration was short-lived. Our doctor found anomalies during the ultrasound. Visions of pink or blue became gray. We quickly learned what an enlarged nuchal fold meant — darker gray — and then chronic villus sampling (CVS) — darker gray.

Code Talker Awards: Hannah Scanga Amazing Grace

James McGowan 0 435

I am reminded of a line in the famous song “Amazing Grace.” I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see. My son, James, was born with a rare genetic disorder causing clouding to both of his eyes. By all accounts, he was blind. Today, James not only has vision, but he also, at 4 years old, attends school full time, recognizes pictures in books, and navigates environments comfortably. I directly attribute his success to the selfless service and expertise of Hannah Scanga.

Code Talker Awards: Margaret Au Our Superhero

Janice Hansen 0 477

What is a diagnosis worth? For my family, learning that our daughter, Amy, has the ultra-rare disorder xeroderma pigmentosum/ trichothiodystrophy (XP/TTD) complex after two decades of searching, the value is incalculable. For an insurance company, there is a definite amount — and in 2015 that amount was $9,500.

Will an At-home DNA Test Tell Me What I Want to Know?

Comparing At-home and Medical-grade DNA Test Options for Health Information

Brianne Kirkpatrick, MS, LCGC 0 1083

Every day it seems there’s a new at-home DNA test on the market, and two of the biggest testing companies – Ancestry.com and 23andMe – have sold over 30 million tests combined. If you’re considering an at-home DNA test, you may have questions. Can you rely on these tests to give you accurate medical information? Are they something you can use in place of a test ordered at your doctor’s office? If so, what do the results mean?

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