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Am I My Genes?: Confronting Fate and Family Secrets in the Age of Genetic Testing
     

Am I My Genes?: Confronting Fate and Family Secrets in the Age of Genetic Testing

by Robert L. Klitzman
 

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ISBN-10: 0199837163

ISBN-13: 9780199837168

Pub. Date: 03/01/2012

Publisher: Oxford University Press

In the fifty years since DNA was discovered, we have seen extraordinary advances. For example, genetic testing has rapidly improved the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as Huntington's, cystic fibrosis, breast cancer, and Alzheimer's. But with this new knowledge comes difficult decisions for countless people, who wrestle with fear about whether to get

Overview

In the fifty years since DNA was discovered, we have seen extraordinary advances. For example, genetic testing has rapidly improved the diagnosis and treatment of diseases such as Huntington's, cystic fibrosis, breast cancer, and Alzheimer's. But with this new knowledge comes difficult decisions for countless people, who wrestle with fear about whether to get tested, and if so, what to do with the results.

Am I My Genes? shows how real individuals have confronted these issues in their daily lives. Robert L. Klitzman interviewed 64 people who faced Huntington's Disease, breast and ovarian cancer, or Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. The book describes—often in the person's own words—how each has wrestled with the vast implications that genetics has for their lives and their families. Klitzman shows how these men and women struggle to make sense of their predicament and its causes. They confront a series of quandaries—whether to be tested; whether to disclose their genetic risks to parents, siblings, spouses, offspring, friends, doctors, insurers, employers, and schools; how to view and understand themselves and their genetics; what treatments, if any, to pursue; whether to have children, adopt, screen embryos, or abort; and whether to participate in genetic communities. In the face of these uncertainties, they have tried to understand these tests and probabilities, avoid fatalism, anxiety, despair, and discrimination, and find hope, meaning, and a sense of wholeness. Forced to wander through a wilderness of shifting sands, they chart paths that many others may eventually follow.

Klitzman captures here the voices of pioneers, some of the first to encounter the personal dilemmas introduced by modern genetics. Am I My Genes? is an invaluable account of their experience, one that will become all the more common in the coming years.

"An extraordinary exploration...probing the many roles and implications of genetics in our lives today.... Filled with astonishing insights, this riveting book is vital reading for us all."
—Paula Zahn

"Klitzman lucidly discusses the moral and psychological complexities that come in the wake of genetic testing.... An important book for anyone who has the genes for pathology, which is all of us, and I recommend it highly."
—Kay Redfield Jamison, author of An Unquiet Mind

"An illuminating voyage through the medical, familial and existential quandaries faced by those of us at genetic risk."
—Thomas H. Murray, President and CEO, The Hastings Center

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199837168
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
03/01/2012
Pages:
376
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

Related Subjects

Table of Contents

Part I: Introduction
Chapter I: Embarking on genetic journeys: Introduction
Part II: Genes in the family
Chapter II: "Do I want to know?": Testing decisions
Chapter III: "Whom should I tell?": Disclosures and testing in families
Part III: Genes in the mind: Understanding genetics
Chapter IV: Genetic test as Rorschach: Questions of "why me?"
Chapter V: "Am I my genes?": Genetic identities
Chapter VI: "Lightning doesn't strike twice": Myths and misunderstandings about genetics
Part IV: Genes in the clinic
Chapter VII: "What should I do about my genes?": Deciding on treatment
Chapter VIII: "Passing it on?": Reproductive choices
Chapter IX: "There's only privacy if you make it": Problems with privacy and insurance
Part V: Genes in the wider world
Chapter X: "Keep it in the family?": Other disclosures beyond kin
Chapter XI: "Crossing over": Entering genetic communities
Chapter XII: "Testing everyone?": Gene politics
Part VI: Conclusions
Chapter XIII: Genes in everyday life

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