Doctor's column: Understanding medical genetics

Lifestyle Saturday 22/October/2016 19:57 PM
By: Times News Service
Doctor's column: Understanding medical genetics

What is genetic medicine?
This is a fairly new medical super specialty for dealing with inheritance issues and preventive medical care. It requires many years of training in medicine, genetics, genetic lab technologies, and genetic ethics. It is mostly used for: Avoidance of birth defects and genetic conditions, choice of appropriate genetic tests, ease in reproductive decisions and personalised medical care.
How can I benefit from medical genetics?
For parents where children suffer delay development, autism, birth defects, have learning difficulties, or have strange looks it is important to find the precise reason. The parents would like to know how to manage the child, and what are the expectations for his future. The family would benefit to know if there is a danger of another similarly affected child, and how to avoid it. Familiar recurrence of joint problems, diabetes, high cholesterol, cancers, and other illness rises question of increased familiar predisposition. Genetic tests can guide the ways it can be prevented, or ameliorated.
Why need premarital tests?
Premarital consultation is important to avoid genetic illness in children. Genetic blood disorders, conditions leading to mental and physical handicap, and cancers can be avoided.
If there are cancers in my family?
Medical genetics can assist in estimating the risk, genetic tests can help to understand the ways of prevention, choice of appropriate medications, and family surveillance.
How to order genetic test?
There are thousands available. Medical geneticists are able to order appropriate tests, to interpret complex tests results, and to apply the results for the management of individual and his family.-

Dr Anna Rajab, is Consultant Clinical Geneticist, at Burjeel Hospital