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A Spot to Learn

The Genetic Alliance has launched a new educational website, called Genes in Life, "for anyone interested in genetics and health, with a primary focus on genetics services," according to an organization spokesperson. The group adds that it plans to launch educational campaigns bimonthly that concentrate on different topics; the first such topic the group is covering is family history.

In that module, the organization discusses how certain traits, including diseases, run in families and that knowing the pattern of disease in your family can help you and your doctor understand your risk. "Though you cannot change your genes, you can change your behavior. What you eat, how much you weigh, how active you are, and your surroundings can raise or lower your chance of developing certain diseases," it notes.

It also gives the example of Carlos who knew that men in his family died young, all before their 50th birthdays. He also learned that his cousin had discovered that he was at risk of heart disease or a heart attack, and by talking to his doctor, Carlos learned that was true for him as well and that there was medication he could take and foods he could avoid.