A Genetic Test You Don’t Need

As a geneticist and researcher, I believe in the power of genetic testing. By identifying genetic mutations, we can improve care and save lives. But just because we can test something doesn’t always mean we should. Take the MTHFR gene, for example. MTHFR codes for an enzyme that helps your body convert homocysteine into an … Read More

Salt and Sleep: A Personal Story of Food and Genes

People react differently to food — and it’s not just about what flavors you prefer. I’ve written before about the science of nutrigenomics, which deals with how certain foods affect individuals based on their genes. Take salt, for example. Some people are more sensitive to the negative effects of salt than others. I discovered this … Read More

5 Smart Questions You Need to Ask Your Doctor

As you leave your doctor’s office, you think, “Oh, I forgot to ask…” It happens to all of us. That’s why in my previous post about making the most of your doctor’s appointment, I recommended writing your questions down. But what should those questions be? You’ll have your own questions based on your personal health … Read More

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For Breast Cancer Prevention, Family Matters

When 24-year-old Allyn Rose announced in November 2012 that she would be undergoing a prophylactic double mastectomy, she sent shockwaves through the media. Why would a beauty queen — Miss District of Columbia in 2012 and a Miss America contestant in 2013 — decide to have both of her breasts removed? She shared her answer … Read More

4 Ways the Human Genome Project Changed Medicine

Researchers are devoted to figuring out what makes you and me tick — and then making us tick better. Based on that idea, the Human Genome Project was a massive milestone. Results of this international project were announced in April 2003. Researchers set out to identify the 20,000–25,000 genes in our DNA and then give … Read More

Lynch Syndrome and the Genetics of Colon Cancer

If you are 50 or older, you probably know you need regular screenings to prevent colon cancer. But did you know that some people need screenings much earlier in life? For people with Lynch syndrome, the most common genetic cause of colorectal cancer, the risk starts as early as age 25. Fortunately, knowing if you … Read More

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What Genetic Counselors Can Do for You

The world of genetics can seem complex and even baffling to a lot of people — especially those who think of science as a foreign language. If that’s the case for you, I have good news: You don’t have to figure genetics out on your own. That’s a genetic counselor’s job. They help make sense … Read More

Healthcare: A Galaxy of Feelings

Patients come to the hospital at the most vulnerable times in their lives. They’re faced with critical conditions. They’re frightened. They need the full attention of dedicated caregivers.

But disease and injuries are complex. Caregivers need to focus on test results, data, disease processes, logistics and, of course, the patient.