September 4, 2015

Family History: The First Genetic Test

By Jeff Briggs

Pedigree 1Family health history is often called the first genetic test.

Collecting your family's health history is critical to understanding your health and your children’s health. You might not realize that your brother’s diabetes, your father’s congestive heart failure or your mother’s breast cancer can affect you, your children and their children. Knowing family history information is an important step in keeping all of you healthy.

Families share genes. Families may also have other things in common, such as exercise habits and the foods they eat. Family members may live in the same area and come into contact with similar things in the environment. Family history includes all of these factors, which can affect health.

Your family history holds key information about your past and clues to your future health. Many of your physical traits (such as eye color, hair color, and height) are inherited. So, too, are risks for certain genetic conditions and health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. You may have noticed that some of your relatives are healthier and live longer than other relatives. You may also have noticed that some relatives have the same health problems. By collecting your family’s health history, you can learn what health problems you may be at increased risk for in the future and how to reduce your risks. For instance, people at increased risk for heart disease may be able to reduce their risk through not smoking, regular exercise and diet.

Teresa Kruisselbrink, M.S., CGC

Teresa Kruisselbrink, M.S., CGC

Finding out your family history can benefit both you and your relatives.

These are just some of the issues Teresa Kruisselbrink, M.S., CGC, and Geoffrey Beek, M.S., CGC, will be discussing when they take the stage at the Patient and Public Symposium on September 20, the kick-off event to the Individualizing Medicine Conference 2015: From Promise to Practice. Hosted by the Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, the fourth annual genomics conference runs from September 20–23, 2015, in Rochester, Minn., home of Mayo Clinic.

 Beek and Kruisselbrink, both certified genetic counselors will explain why knowing your family medical history is so important. They also plan to explore what genetic testing can and cannot tell you, and what is known about the relationship between genetics, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetes, and other common diseases

You will also have the opportunity to mine their professional expertise with a question-and-answer session.

Geoffrey Beek, M.S., CGC

Geoffrey Beek, M.S., CGC

Beek’s interests include hereditary cancer syndromes and other rare conditions. He also provides genomic counseling for whole exome sequencing.

Kruisselbrink is genetic counselor supervisor in the Center for Individualized Medicine. Her interests are in using genomics to help diagnose disease, and helping patients understand and prevent future risks.

 Family history is a crucial element of your future health. Please join us at the Patient and Public Symposium to discover more about the importance of this first genetic test.

Sunday, September 20, 2015
12 to 4 p.m.

Rochester, Minn.
On the Mayo Clinic campus
Phillips Hall, Siebens Building

$15. Yes, you read that right. An afternoon of precision medicine from some of the world’s foremost experts for $15, and this includes refreshments and handout materials.

Of course, if you already know you plan to attend but just haven’t registered yet, you can register here.

Brochure Panel FamilyWhat You’ll Experience
Health care is changing rapidly and the impact on patients and families of individualized medicine will be profound. Genomic medicine is increasingly being used to help people live healthier lives, get the right medications, and treat diseases. It will be the health care of the 21st century.

This four-hour symposium will to introduce patients and the public to what individualized or precision medicine is, what it means in regards to current and future health care, and highlight some of the applications today. Featured topics include: family history, genetic testing, the relationship of genetics to health and disease, medication and cancer applications. The symposium will feature educational exhibits, dynamic presentations and opportunities to interact with experts in individualized medicine, cancer, genetic counseling, ethics, pharmacy, and more.

Read more about the Individualizing Medicine Conference 2015 on the CIM blog, follow us on Facebook, and join the conversation on Twitter at #CIMCon15.


Tags: center for individualized medicine, Family Health History, Family History, Geoffrey Beek, individualized medicine, Individualized Medicine Conference 2015, Patient and Public Symposium, Teresa Kruisselbrink, Uncategorized

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