As the news was on in the background last night, they were doing a story on gene testing for Alzheimer's and whether or not people would want to know their risk.
The average American has a 15% chance that they will develop Alzheimer's by age 85, but there are those people who are at a higher risk, especially if someone in your family has suffered from the disease. There is a gene called APOE, and if you carry this gene, your odds increase that you to will develop Alzheimer's. 1 in 4 people carry one APOE gene, making them 3 times as likely to develop the disease; those who carry two copies of the gene are 10 times as likely.
Most of the people who went through the testing did not have a negative reaction to their results. A few of those tested had a family member who was suffering, or who had suffered, with the disease. If it's in your family, you probably figure you have a greater risk of developing it yourself, but would you want to know just how much greater the odds were? What would you do if you found out you were 10 times as likely to suffer from it? Would you begin a journal (a la The Notebook) to remind yourself and to let others know the past? Would you change the way you lived?
What if they could tell you your odds of other diseases (cancer, tumours, brain disease, MS, etc.,) would you find out? If breast cancer was in your family, ladies would you take preemptive strikes to lessen your chances (like Christina Applegate)?
Or would you choose not to know and live out your life as it comes?
Mark once said that it would be dumb to not find out the gender of a child since the technology is there, likening it to finding out if a tumour was cancerous or not. You would never not use the technology available to save your health....so would you try to see into the future, even if the outcome wasn't a guarantee? Alzheimer's is in my family...it's not fun, but I don't know if I would want to know my risk level. I guess a part of me assumes there is a good chance I could journey down the road with it, but I think I just want to leave it as an assumption.
What about you?