Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Biotrek hits the West Coast!

If you could know whether you were likely to suffer from a serious genetic disease like breast or colo-rectal cancer would you want to? How would your life change? Would you like to know whether your children would carry these gene mutations before they are born?

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

yes i would

Anonymous said...

If I could know whether I'm more prone to certain genetic diseases, I would like to know so that I would be aware of my conditions. Nonetheless, life would be slightly different since there would always be a bit of a fear. On the positive side however, if I know for sure that I'm not carrying the genes for some diseases, it would be a great relief.

Anonymous said...

If I knew that I was predisposed to be affected by a disease, I would want to know as soon as possible so I could take the proper preventative measures to postpone or possibly avoid its onset. I would also want to know if the disease is dominant or recessive to determine the probability of my offspring also inherting such a disease.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

If it is possible, of course I would like to know if I have these diseases because it would both relieve my worries as well as answer many unanswered questions about my health. The results of these tests will affect me in some ways. I would obviously find methods to treat any diseases that I've been diagnosed with. But, the main thing is that I would still continue to live my life to the fullest for as long as I live.

Again if possible, I would definitely want to know if my future children would carry these gene mutations before they are born, so that they will not have to suffer through the disease.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind knowing since it would allow me to be aware of my health condition. However, on the other hand, it may probably lead me into paranoia since yeah... it's not easy to face the fact that you are sick with no cure.

Hmm... I think it is very useful to be informed about any gene mutations on a child before s/he is born... but then if there are gene mutations on that one child, I wouldn't know what to do. It'll just be too much to worry about, right?

Anonymous said...

Yes I would like to know because of several reasons. It would definitely relieve me of a tremendous amount of anxiety. I could either live a carefree life and worry about things like credit card debt or think about a built-in time bomb. How would my life change? Well...I think that depends on the severity of the disease and what the expected onset (time) would be. If it was something that would not hit me till I was at least 65 years old..I think my lifestyle would be very similar to that of my peers. I would work and save up for my future generations. However before I start a family I would like to know whether I would transfer my "harmful" genes to my children. If that did happen...I guess I would invest my love, money and time on my brother's kids.

If the disease hit me in my early stages of life and it would probably kill me, then I would live my life differently. It would no longer be only about passing Provincials or getting in to University. It would probably be about helping research institutes..doing public speeches..you know more "worthwhile" things.

Having said all this, just because I'm told I'll get a disease doesn't mean I'll keep telling myself, oh I shouldn't do this because it might harm my heart..I would try to live as normal a life as possible.

This concludes my blog for today :).

Jimmy said...
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Jimmy said...
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Jimmy said...

Of course I would want to know, I'm the type of person that would die of uncertainty unless I know definitely. Ignorance is not bliss for me, personally.

If I was likely to suffer from a serious genetic disease, I would be quite upset at first, but overall I would probably learn to be more appreciative of life. If I wasn't likely to suffer, then I would likely celebrate my new found sense of relief.

As for my children, I am undecided on the issue. On one hand, I would not want to bring a person into this world with a disadvantage, but I also wouldn't want to discriminate among potential children. Besides, I want things to be as natural and as much of a surprise as possible.

Just to note, all the males here would probably not have a choice concerning the decision with future offspring because that would most likely be under the influence of the female counter-part.

Also, I'm curious whether or not the "gene selection" in Gattaca would overall decrease the size of human gene pools, effectively reducing variety among humans, making us more likely to be wiped out by a pandemic?

xXblah said...

I was wondering... if a mother-to-be was choosing her an egg of hers to be fertilized, like in GATTACA, would the fertilization be outside the body only? Since you'll have to take out the lucky chosen egg, right? I think the process is really confusing. Also, if the fertilization is really outside the body, wouldn't that be kind of, 'unnatural' in a way?

Gene 1349 said...

It all depends on one's phylosophy. Is this a world of faith or of science? Ofcourse, the human psyche will naturally shy away from pain and seek the easiest path.
But when it comes to a question of beliefs some people say whatever happens it is meant to be; God's will. Afterall a disease doesn't have to ruin your life, look at Milton, he went blind by the age of 30 and ended up writing the greatest biblical epic of all time Paradise Lost. Don't let your disablility get you down. Ofcourse this is easier said than done...

I would hope that if I was positively tested for a major genetic disorder that it would not majorly affect my lifestyle. Then again having the knowledge would affect my state of mind. So in my opinion it would be better just not knowing. After all you never know what you will get out of life and you just have to end up dealing with it anyways so why bother worrying about it?

Cameron said...

I think that I would like to know if had a high probability of suffering from a serious genetic disease. There are already so many diseases that exist out there, and there is a very huge chance that you are eventually going to get struck with one of them. And you have a 100% percent chance of dying eventually; you can postpone death, but you can't avoid it. Not yet, anyways. But everyone wants to live (well, most anyways) for as long as they can, so that they can get the most out of life.

The diseases mentioned in the original post here, such as breast or colorectal cancer, are certainly treatable, but only if they are caught in time. I must say that if I had to die, I would not want to die from a painful disease like cancer, the last few days of my life under drugs so that I would be like someone dead under their pain-killing influences. For diseases that can be treated, I would want to know if I had a higher than normal chance of catching them. One of the worst feelings in the world is when you feel utterly helpless in a situation that continuely gets worse and worse. Knowing that you have a greater than normal chance of getting a certain disease can help you prepare for it's possible onslaught. Such preparations can include more frequent trips to the doctor, lifestyle changes, or a number of other things. On the flip side of the coin, if you test negative for the possiblity of inherited genetic diseases, it can set your mind at rest about you ever getting them. I'd say that would be a pretty great feeling.

But there are diseases that knowing that probability of you getting that disease would not help at all. There is currently no known way of reducing the possibility of contracting Parkinson's disease if you have a high probability of getting it (as ascertained by genetic testing). This becomes a lot trickier. If you test for the disease and you don't have the gene, that would certainly put your mind at a lot of rest. On the other hand, if you tested positive... this could be more like a death warrant. However, knowing that I have a gene for getting an incurable disease would not prevent me from taking the genetic test. It is certainly possible that 20 years from now there will be treatments or cures for it. Since Parkinson's is a disease that (as far as I know) doesn't usually strike until you are a good bit older than I am right now, I still have a lot of years to live before it would become a problem. And possibly my mind would be sort of put at rest because I don't have to worry about getting the disease, I know I will (if gene is dominant). I know it would become a lot easier to take risks, anyways. Anyways (heh, I like using that word), thats my two cents.

C

Anonymous said...

Personally, I believe that it is crucial that we live as though we don't have to worry about possible future diseases. If we did, we'd give up on growing, learning and developing our lives because we already know how it's going to end. I think it's a creative idea to know what will come in the future, but in terms of diseases, it's best to leave that in the shadows. Who wants to know exactly what they are going to die of if they can't even prevent it? It's just a burden in your mind and there are already enough of those to have to worry about another one.

As for my children, as long as it is not a disease that would hinder them before they fully experienced life, I wouldn't want to know.

I don't know. Maybe when they discover the cures for these diseases, I'll change my mind; for now, I'd rather not know.

bettyfish said...

If I could, I would test for all serious genetic diseases that I may be susceptible to as soon as possible. Regardless of how my life would change emotionally, it is essential to know what possible risks I may face. By knowing certain information, we are able to make more educated decisions about having children, etc. In fact, my life wouldn’t change for knowing. I would still be the same person, but only with more knowledge. I strongly doubt I would become a “high risk individual” or waste away my life knowing I will die a certain way, because nothing is certain at all. Many of the diseases in question develop at a late age, and by then there may be a cure, or I could have died by another means not prophesized on my genetic code. I would definitely like to know if my children would carry gene mutations, because then I could take the means to ensure that the healthiest child possible is born, i.e through the process used for individuals who have a high risk of passing on trisomy-21. Ultimately, I believe that not supporting genetic testing is a modern way of staying in the dark ages.

bettyfish said...

If I could, I would test for all serious genetic diseases that I may be susceptible to as soon as possible. Regardless of how my life would change emotionally, it is essential to know what possible risks I may face. By knowing certain information, we are able to make more educated decisions about having children, etc. In fact, my life wouldn’t change for knowing. I would still be the same person, but only with more knowledge. I strongly doubt I would become a “high risk individual” or waste away my life knowing I will die a certain way, because nothing is certain at all. Many of the diseases in question develop at a late age, and by then there may be a cure, or I could have died by another means not prophesized on my genetic code. I would definitely like to know if my children would carry gene mutations, because then I could take the means to ensure that the healthiest child possible is born, i.e through the process used for individuals who have a high risk of passing on trisomy-21. Ultimately, I believe that not supporting genetic testing is a modern way of staying in the dark ages.

sallysalmon said...

If I had the option to know if I was suffering from a seriouse disease I would like to have some knowledge of it, it would be nice to have some recollection of it but to an extent where it is not going to be life changing.. I would not want to know how long I would have to live because it could be innacurate or it would change my life tremendously over something. Physically I dont think anything would change about myself but emotionally I think there would be some effects on my life knowing I could suffer a long painful death or a quiet one...it would end up affecting anyones life and you would probably require some kind of counselling or help to deal with your emotions I guess I would like to know.

Anonymous said...

If I could, I would test for all serious genetic diseases that I may be susceptible to as soon as possible. Regardless of how my life would change emotionally, it is essential to know what possible risks I may face. By knowing certain information, we are able to make more educated decisions about having children, etc. In fact, my life wouldn’t change for knowing. I would still be the same person, but only with more knowledge. I strongly doubt I would become a “high risk individual” or waste away my life knowing I will die a certain way, because nothing is certain at all. Many of the diseases in question develop at a late age, and by then there may be a cure, or I could have died by another means not prophesized on my genetic code. I would definitely like to know if my children would carry gene mutations, because then I could take the means to ensure that the healthiest child possible is born, i.e through the process used for individuals who have a high risk of passing on trisomy-21. Ultimately, I believe that not supporting genetic testing is a modern way of staying in the dark ages.

thanh said...

Yes, I would like to be aware of the fact that I would suffer from a serious genetic disease in the future. It would be terrifying to find out that I have a disease of some sort out of the blue one day and realize it's too late to be doing anything about it. I want to be prepared and not let it come off as a shock to me. I think that I'd eventually get use to the idea if I grew up with the knowledge. It really depends on the situation that individuals are placed in and the different personal factors that they have to take into consideration to make a decision that is right for them. They just have to know that there's an option like that out there from the start. As for the last question... well i'm just going to adopt a child from a foreign land and save myself the trouble.

a_a said...

I would want to know if I'm more prone to certain genetic diseases because I would like to have knowledge of my health condition.

Even though one might be living in fear once he/she is aware of the fact that they have a genetic disadvantage, it wouldn't be the end of the world. Afterall, there are accidents that are simply inevitable. We may suffer worse conditions before suffering any illness that is coded in our genes.

However, I wouldn't perform PIGD or any similar testing on my children because I think it is important that they are as natural as possible. Just because one is more likely to suffer a certain sickness it doesn't necessarily means that they'll suffer it for sure.

gilbert said...

If I could be tested, I certainly would. I won't deny that much of my life wouldn't change (like the school I go to or the television shows I watch), but it would certainly be nice to know. If my life were to be shortened by a lot, I would probably become more spontaneous and willing to try new things, knowing that I have less time to live: maybe that might be a good thing.

To test my children? My initial instinct was to do it without hesitation. However, perhaps I might like to wait until they're about our age, when they can think and make important decisions that could potentially affect them for a lifetime. If I still had the opportunity to test for the disease, then I would have a discussion with them.

XLiquidIceX said...

I agree with many posters in the fact that I would be tested for genetic diseases if I am at risk for carrying a disease or if my ancestors had the disease (in which the gene would be carried over to the next generations). These tests would no doubt resolve any uncertainties, though they are not 100% accurate. There is still a small possibility that the results are wrong.

I would be relieved if results determined negative. However, if results swing the other direction, my life would probably not change. That is because it is much better to live life to the fullest (before the disease takes effect) rather than give up right away.

As for the last question, I feel that it is a good idea to test my children for these gene mutations only if I or if previous generations of my family were at risk or had the dieases. There is no point testing if the risk is not there.

Cameron said...

It would seem that I only answered part of the original question. I was so caught up in answering question 1 that I skipped question 2, "Would you like to know whether your children would carry these gene mutations before they are born?" I really like exliquidicex's idea of waiting until your children have become old enough and responsible (hopefully) enough to decide for themselves whether or not they want to get tested for genetic diseases.

I do, however, have a bit of a problem with with testing for genetic diseases before children are born. In my opinion, this gives far too much power too much power to the parents, almost like too much knowledge. Now it is possible to choose one baby over another (and do WHAT with the rest that aren't chosen?) merely because one has a lower or higher chance of getting a genetic disease. At what stage of a baby's growth is it considered too old to abort because it has a high chance of getting a genetic disease? At what stage does the few cells bunched together consitute a human? This is an unanswered question for many people, and it is this vagueness and uncertainty which makes me wary of testing for genetic diseases before children are born.

Thats not to say that I don't care whether my children would get a genetic disease or not. But the method of taking several fertilized eggs out and letting them grow until they are several cells in size and then testing them all to find the best one... thats all very good, but what happens to the rest of those "humans" or if you prefer "potential humans"? I don't know whether disposing of these other fertilized cells is something wrong or not, and it is this uncertainty which is why I would choose not to test my children BEFORE they are born.

Step Hen said...

well, i think i wouldnt want to know, coz wt's the pt living life with the shadow of a disease that you are likely to hv hanging over you all the time.

After all, you cant really avoid genetic disease, and, quite frankly, there are better things to do in life than walking around carrying the burden of knowing that you are going to suffer from a disease....

and if I dont wanna know, then i wouldnt wanna know if my children has it or not either

i guess it all just depends on ur view of life and wt you value in it, being a christian, diseases or death isnt really an issue that is feared

Anonymous said...

I wold love to know if I had any type of disease, no matter what time in my life it might affect. I think it's important to know what to expect and to make sure I'm prepared for and incident. Even if I did know I had a disease, it's still important to live life the way I feel is right. I also think it's wrong or a little overboard to overthink or rashly take action after finding a disease that will affect one's life.

Knowing if a child will have a disease before it is born is a good thing. Using or picking embryos before their brains develop isn't that bad, and if it's going to benefit the next generations, why not?