Thursday, November 5, 2009

National Family Health History Day

Submitted by Janeice Crossen, KCGS President
Just a note to alert you that several of the larger genealogy information repositories in the country are going together to make their data available online, such libraries as the Midwest Genealogy Research Center in Independence, and Ft. Wayne in Indianapolis, plus the Family History Center in Salt Lake City and others. It is an exciting time for us. You know also that the National Archives is working in tandem with to digitize their records.

What I wanted to talk about today however:

Thanksgiving Day has been designated as National Family Health History Day, by the U.S. Surgeon General. What that means is you are asked to take the opportunity to create a health history for your family as you get together to visit and have a good time. Americans know that family history is important to health.

Such diseases as Macular Degeneration, Alzheimer’s, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Autism, Brain, colon, endometrial and skin cancers, breast, ovarian and prostate cancers, clotting disorders, diabetes, heart disease, Huntington’s, Muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s, Sickle-cell disease, Tay-Sachs, are health issues with ties to genetics. Early detection may help alleviate problems later on.

If you will go to The website that is highlighted on the page
You will find the Access the My family Health Portrait Web tool.

There is a questionnaire for you to complete right on the computer, asking for your personal profile, name, age, height, weight, diseases, when diagnosed, etc. Then you are asked to number your siblings, uncles, aunts, parents, grandparents.

On the next section you are asked to fill out the questionnaire for each of the people you have listed. There is a pull down menu that lists possible diseases and a place to add any that are not there. If you aren’t sure what Grandpa died of, perhaps somebody else at your gathering will know.

When you have completed the answers, the computer will print out a nice chart for you that graphically illustrates your family’s health history. Why do we need this? Make a copy for each of your children and give it to them. They will be able to take them to their health care providers when next they go. Doctors will be delighted to see such a history as it will help them formulate treatments and preventive measures to prescribe for their patients.

Those of you who are reluctant to have your health data “out there” can be assured that if you don’t save your work it will disappear from the computer. All you will have is the printed copy which you can revise and edit if need be.

If you are not a computer user yourself, enlist the help of a grandchild and make a nice Thanksgiving activity for you both.

Then the latest I have found is this genetic problem. A UCI study has turned up evidence that bad driving may have a genetic basis. UCI neurologist Dr. Steven Cramer, who studies brain repair after stroke and brain remodeling, published a study suggesting that bad driving may in part be genetically based. People with a particular gene variant performed more than 20 percent worse on a driving test than people without it. About 30 % of Americans have the variant.

The study was published in the journal Cerebral Cortex. You might want to google it.

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