http://www.carbwire.com/mt/mt.cgiWould a Genetic Test for Diabetes Be Worth Taking?
Posted Dec 18 2008 8:12pm
New York Times reporter Denise Grady offers an intriguing look today at whether or not new genetic tests for diabetes -- which could be test marketed as early as 2007 or 2998 by the Icelandic company Decode Genetics -- would be a useful tool.
What makes this story particularly compelling is that reporter Grady poignantly points out that her mom -- and her mom's mother -- both suffered from the disease.
Clearly, Grady was the ideal journalist to write this piece. Her take on this subject is so much more well-rounded, and personal than if a mere science writer tackleed this topic.
In fact, it sounds like Grady's interest in this subject is what led to this article. (In my mind -- from my vantage point as veteran journalist -- reporter-generated articles are always the most interesting.)
Grady draws you in thusly:
"Lately, I’ve been intrigued by the discovery of a gene variant that can predispose people to this type of diabetes, which usually develops in adults. Having the variant doesn’t guarantee that you will get the disease, and lacking it doesn’t guarantee that you won’t. But it tells something about risk.
"People who have one copy of the gene, inherited from one parent, have 1.4 times the risk of someone who lacks it, and those with two copies — one from each parent — have about twice the risk. People with the variants tend to make insufficient insulin, the hormone that lowers blood sugar."
"The gene accounts for about 21 percent of all diabetes cases; more than a third of Americans carry one copy. Seven to 10 percent carry two."
And then comes the ultimate question. Grady wonders: "Am I one of them? Do I want to find out?"