5    Aug 20111 comment

Building your family tree? It could save your life.

A comprehensive family tree can ‘trump’ genetic testing for hereditary disease, say researchers.

Compiling or preparing an accurate family medical history appears to be of immense value in predicting family health risks, say researchers at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.... And there I was, mocking my granny for believing in such piffle and pseudoscience.

In the study, detailed family histories were taken of 44 individuals, nine of whom had a family history of colon cancer. Quite astonishingly, a genetic swab test deemed all nine participants were low-risk, although further tests showed that five of the nine carried a gene mutation linked to the cancer.

I’m sure we all have a vague idea of our own family risk factors, but perhaps investing some time to compile a comprehensive record may be a worthwhile move. Obviously, it is best to span more than a couple of generations, which may be time-consuming but think of the benefits!

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