Friday, November 14, 2008

Technology is COOL!

No, I'm not talking about my trusty MacBook or one of our many iPods, although they are way cool, too. I'm talking about Time Magazine's Invention of the Year that I saw on Oprah today. Wow! It's called 23 and Me and it's an at-home genetic testing kit. You spit into the test tube, send the tube to a lab somewhere and 4-6 weeks later you find out your genetic predispositions. For $399! A year from now it will probably be $199 and a year after that $39.99. Even for four hundred bucks, it seems like a pretty sweet deal. Of course, this is coming from the girl who paid eighty something to find out what kind of mutt she adopted.

It's also a subject that hits close to home for me. We don't have any hugely significant genetic disorders in our family (that we know of), but my dad, Brynn and I all have Factor V Leiden (say "factor five LY-dehn"). Factor V is a blood clotting disorder that causes our blood to clot more easily than most people. Normally this isn't all that significant, but during pregnancy it is. I got my first clot when I was six and a half months pregnant with Brynn. It was on the inside of my right knee and I still have a nasty vein there where the clot popped up. My super-smart family practice doctor (Dr. Tom Dryer in Cincinnati -- I highly recommend him) tested me for Factor V and, sure enough, I was positive. That sent me down a road that I'm not excited about...Heparin. Ugh. I had to inject Heparin (a blood thinner) into my abdomen twice a day for the rest of my pregnancy and for my whole pregnancy with Callie. It wasn't fun and I wish there were a more natural way of preventing clots during pregnancy (some say grape juice, garlic, and ginger, which I used also), but it worked. At least, it worked until I got tired of using it and reduced my dosage to once a day (stupid) and ended up with clots in my placenta during Callie's pregnancy. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

It would have been nice to know about my predisposition toward Factor V before getting pregnant. It would have been really great to know about Factor V before going on birth control pills, since the hormones in birth control also cause clots. (By the way, I believe that Fertility Awareness Method is an awesome alternative to the pill -- I used it after finding out I was Factor V.) For smokers, knowing whether they are Factor V would be really beneficial since smoking also causes clots. And Factor V is only one of the many genetic predispositions that 23 and Me uncovers.

I don't know whether I'm ready to pony up the $400 for the test now, but maybe soon. Just because I'm curious. I didn't need to know that Libbie is a Husky x Lab, but it helps explain why she is the way she is. I think this 23 and Me test might do the same for me.

1 comment:

nick said...

Don't worry heparin is "natural" -ish...I'd be more worried about the Drug's Safety:
http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB120354600035281041.html?mod=blog