Understanding Genetics: A Primer for Couples and Families

Understanding Genetics: A Primer for Couples and Families

by Angela Scheuerle


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One in every 100 Americans is born with a serious genetic disorder, and more will face a disease with genetic components in their lifetime. In the past decade, fledgling genetic science has identified more than 4,000 diseases connected to genetic factors. Genetic doctors and testing have become relatively common. But what is genetics'? How do these doctors and their tests work, and what if anything can they change? Dr. Scheuerle walks us through this new field and explains the basics, detailing diseases and disordes that can present in each life stage: in infancy and childhood, in puberty and adolescence, and in adulthood as well as old age. The text addresses genetic issues that might be considered in pregnancy and pregnancy planning. Also discussed are prenatal testing procedures, and talking about genetic disease with children and teenagers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780313361814
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 04/30/2005
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.47(d)

About the Author

Angela Scheuerle, M.D. is a Clinical Geneticist in private practice, as well as Medical Director for the Texas Birth Defects Research Center. She is also Medical Director for the Dallas Craniofacial Center and Genetics Medical Center. She is a Faculty Member for the Program of Ethics in Science and Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Scheuerle is also an Adjunct Faculty Member at the School of Public Health at the University of Texas, and a Volunteer Faculty Member for the Clinical Ethics in Medicine course at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas.

Table of Contents



Basic Things to Know

What is a genetics doctor?

Primer on Family History

Who is affected by Genetic Disease?

DNA, Chromosomes and Genes

Pregnancy and Pregnancy Planning

Forewarned and Forearmed

Inherited Genetic Risks

Hidden Genetic Risks

Prenatal Testing

What if a test is positive?

Genetics in Infancy and Childhood

Abnormalities in the Fetus and Infant

Abnormalities in the Child

When the Problem Cannot Be Fixed

Genetics in Puberty and Adolescence

When Things Go Right

When Things Go Wrong - Female

When Things Go Wrong - Male

Teenage Angst

Adult Genetic Disease

Genetic Conditions that Come on Later

Genetics of Common Adult Diseases

Knowledge is Power

What People are Saying About This

Lowell E. Sever

"[A]n interesting and informative book, which will be of great help to persons and families who are dealing with the possibility or presence of genetic diseases. Strengths of the book include placing genetics into the contexts of peoples' lives, providing a scientific basis to help support them in making decisions consistent with their own moral principles and beliefs about health and medical care."

Richard Nielsen

"Excellent primer on genetics for those not versed in medicine. Difficult medical terminology is explained using clear, easy to understand words. This is a book I would recommend reading before visiting a Geneticist. It provides the reader with a basic understanding of genetics and the background to better discuss medical concerns with a doctor."

Edward P. Kirven

"While I have some general knowledge of the topics covered, I quickly encountered new information that broadened my appreciation of the current practices of medical genetics. Had this information been as readily available twenty-five years ago when my oldest son was tested, I could have made more informed decisions. Now, I will be able to offer him better advice about genetic counseling if he chooses to have a family. Dr. Scheuerle's approach should be very useful for her intended audience."

Steverson O. Moffat

"The great strides occuring in modern medical science increase the chances that a patient will be referred to a physician who specializes in genetics, bringing everyday people in contact with what to them is a new, confusing, and complicated portion of the medical world. Dr. Scheuerle provides clearly articulated information and advice to persons who find themselves in such a situation and who want to know more about this fascinating branch of medicine."

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