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Debbie Sharp Loeb, teacher by training but full-time mom to a disabled son, craftsperson, bead artist, great cook, creative homemaker & terrific spotter of cool new products for everything under the sun, presents Hodgepodge: recipes, household hints, stories about children, friends & relatives, cool stuff, music, & much more.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

How Well Do You Know Your Medical Ancestry?

The following is a summary from an article by Steve Fisher, entitled: "Make like a tree and live". (It is taken from the February 2008 Costco Connection magazine, although it doesn't show up in the online archived section.)

The article tells about Rovinia M. Brock, Ph.D., a.k.a - Dr. Ro ( on BET television and she has a syndicated column, "Livin' Healthy with Dr. Ro". In her book, Dr. Ro's Ten Secrets to Livin' Healthy she stresses the importance of knowing your family medical past. She learned how important this was when she lost her mother to stomach cancer. Here are the tips she offers:
  • Talk to your immediate family about their health to find out the most important information about your genetic risks.
  • Become a sleuth in the case of deceased relatives finding information from medical records, death certificates, obituary notices, or old letters.
  • View family photo albums, baby books, or family videos as visual clues may tell a tale.
  • Attend family reunions. Old family stories may offer clues to conditions other relatives were reticent to talk about.
  • Be specific as health histories should include dates of birth, dates and causes of death, as well as medical conditions. It's important to know the person's age at the onset of a condition.
  • Draw a genealogical chart to track whether a disease has passed from generation to generation. If you notice the same diseases in different generations, or a pattern developing, you should obtain information from other relatives to make a more complete picture.

Finally she says: "You can't change your genes but you can adjust your life to minimize risks or catch things while still manageable."


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