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Genetic Diseases
A genetic disorder is a health problem caused by one or more abnormalities in the genome. It can be caused by a mutation in a single gene (monogenic) or multiple genes (polygenic) or by a chromosomal abnormality. Although polygenic disorders are the most common, the term is mostly used when discussing disorders with a single genetic cause, either in a gene or chromosome. The mutation responsible can occur spontaneously before embryonic development (a ''de novo'' mutation), or it can be inherited from two parents who are carriers of a faulty gene (autosomal recessive inheritance) or from a parent with the disorder (autosomal dominant inheritance). When the genetic disorder is inherited from one or both parents, it is also classified as a hereditary disease. Some disorders are caused by a mutation on the X chromosome and have X-linked inheritance. Very few disorders are inherited on the Y chromosome or mitochondrial DNA (due to their size). There are well over 6,000 known genet ...
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Medical Genetics
Medical genetics is the branch tics in that human genetics is a field of scientific research that may or may not apply to medicine, while medical genetics refers to the application of genetics to medical care. For example, research on the causes and inheritance of genetic disorders would be considered within both human genetics and medical genetics, while the diagnosis, management, and counselling people with genetic disorders would be considered part of medical genetics. In contrast, the study of typically non-medical phenotypes such as the genetics of eye color would be considered part of human genetics, but not necessarily relevant to medical genetics (except in situations such as albinism). ''Genetic medicine'' is a newer term for medical genetics and incorporates areas such as gene therapy, personalized medicine, and the rapidly emerging new medical specialty, predictive medicine. Scope Medical genetics encompasses many different areas, including clinical practice ...
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Rare Disease
A rare disease is any disease that affects a small percentage of the population. In some parts of the world, an orphan disease is a rare disease whose rarity means there is a lack of a market large enough to gain support and resources for discovering treatments for it, except by the government granting economically advantageous conditions to creating and selling such treatments. Orphan drugs are ones so created or sold. Most rare diseases are genetic and thus are present throughout the person's entire life, even if symptoms do not immediately appear. Many rare diseases appear early in life, and about 30% of children with rare diseases will die before reaching their fifth birthdays. With only four diagnosed patients in 27 years, ribose-5-phosphate isomerase deficiency is considered the rarest known genetic disease. No single cut-off number has been agreed upon for which a disease is considered rare. A disease may be considered rare in one part of the world, or in a particular g ...
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Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a rare genetic disorder that affects mostly the lungs, but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys, and intestine. Long-term issues include difficulty breathing and coughing up mucus as a result of frequent lung infections. Other signs and symptoms may include sinus infections, poor growth, fatty stool, clubbing of the fingers and toes, and infertility in most males. Different people may have different degrees of symptoms. Cystic fibrosis is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. It is caused by the presence of mutations in both copies of the gene for the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) protein. Those with a single working copy are carriers and otherwise mostly healthy. CFTR is involved in the production of sweat, digestive fluids, and mucus. When the CFTR is not functional, secretions which are usually thin instead become thick. The condition is diagnosed by a sweat test and genetic testing. Screening of infants at birth ...
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Sickle Cell Anaemia
Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of blood disorders typically inherited from a person's parents. The most common type is known as sickle cell anaemia. It results in an abnormality in the oxygen-carrying protein haemoglobin found in red blood cells. This leads to a rigid, sickle-like shape under certain circumstances. Problems in sickle cell disease typically begin around 5 to 6 months of age. A number of health problems may develop, such as attacks of pain (known as a sickle cell crisis), anemia, swelling in the hands and feet, bacterial infections and stroke. Long-term pain may develop as people get older. The average life expectancy in the developed world is 40 to 60 years. Sickle cell disease occurs when a person inherits two abnormal copies of the β-globin gene (''HBB'') that makes haemoglobin, one from each parent. This gene occurs in chromosome 11. Several subtypes exist, depending on the exact mutation in each haemoglobin gene. An attack can be set off by ...
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Huntington's Disease
Huntington's disease (HD), also known as Huntington's chorea, is a neurodegenerative disease that is mostly inherited. The earliest symptoms are often subtle problems with mood or mental abilities. A general lack of coordination and an unsteady gait often follow. It is also a basal ganglia disease causing a hyperkinetic movement disorder known as chorea. As the disease advances, uncoordinated, involuntary body movements of chorea become more apparent. Physical abilities gradually worsen until coordinated movement becomes difficult and the person is unable to talk. Mental abilities generally decline into dementia. The specific symptoms vary somewhat between people. Symptoms usually begin between 30 and 50 years of age but can start at any age. The disease may develop earlier in each successive generation. About eight percent of cases start before the age of 20 years, and are known as ''juvenile HD'', which typically present with the slow movement symptoms of Parkinson's ...
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Marfan Syndrome
Marfan syndrome (MFS) is a multi-systemic genetic disorder that affects the connective tissue. Those with the condition tend to be tall and thin, with long arms, legs, fingers, and toes. They also typically have exceptionally flexible joints and abnormally curved spines. The most serious complications involve the heart and aorta, with an increased risk of mitral valve prolapse and aortic aneurysm. The lungs, eyes, bones, and the covering of the spinal cord are also commonly affected. The severity of the symptoms is variable. MFS is caused by a mutation in '' FBN1'', one of the genes that makes fibrillin, which results in abnormal connective tissue. It is an autosomal dominant disorder. In about 75% of cases, it is inherited from a parent with the condition, while in about 25% it is a new mutation. Diagnosis is often based on the Ghent criteria. There is no known cure for MFS. Many of those with the disorder have a normal life expectancy with proper treatment. Managemen ...
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Hereditary Spherocytosis
Hereditary spherocytosis (HS) is a congenital hemolytic disorder, wherein a genetic mutation coding for a structural membrane protein phenotype leads to a spherical shaping of erythrocytic cellular morphology. As erythrocytes are sphere-shaped (spherocytosis), rather than the normal biconcave disk-shaped, their morphology interferes with these cells' abilities to be flexible during circulation throughout the entirety of the body - arteries, arterioles, capillaries, venules, veins, and organs. This difference in shape also makes the red blood cells more prone to rupture under osmotic and/or mechanical stress. Cells with these dysfunctional proteins are degraded in the spleen, which leads to a shortage of erythrocytes resulting in hemolytic anemia. HS was first described in 1871, and is the most common cause of inherited hemolysis in populations of northern European descent, with an incidence of 1 in 5000 births. The clinical severity of HS varies from mild (symptom-free carrier) ...
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Familial Hypercholesterolemia
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a genetic disorder characterized by high cholesterol levels, specifically very high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL cholesterol), in the blood and early cardiovascular disease. The most common mutations diminish the number of functional LDL receptors in the liver. Since the underlying body biochemistry is slightly different in individuals with FH, their high cholesterol levels are less responsive to the kinds of cholesterol control methods which are usually more effective in people without FH (such as dietary modification and statin tablets). Nevertheless, treatment (including higher statin doses) is usually effective. FH is classified as a type 2 familial dyslipidemia. There are five types of familial dyslipidemia (not including subtypes), and each are classified from both the altered lipid profile and by the genetic abnormality. For example, high LDL (often due to LDL receptor defect) is type 2. Others include defects in chylomicr ...
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BRCA Mutation
A ''BRCA'' mutation is a mutation in either of the ''BRCA1'' and ''BRCA2'' genes, which are tumour suppressor genes. Hundreds of different types of mutations in these genes have been identified, some of which have been determined to be harmful, while others have no proven impact. Harmful mutations in these genes may produce a hereditary breast–ovarian cancer syndrome in affected persons. Only 5–10% of breast cancer cases in women are attributed to ''BRCA1'' and ''BRCA2'' mutations (with ''BRCA1'' mutations being slightly more common than ''BRCA2'' mutations), but the impact on women with the gene mutation is more profound. Women with harmful mutations in either ''BRCA1'' or ''BRCA2'' have a risk of breast cancer that is about five times the normal risk, and a risk of ovarian cancer that is about ten to thirty times normal. The risk of breast and ovarian cancer is higher for women with a high-risk ''BRCA1'' mutation than with a ''BRCA2'' mutation. Having a high-risk mutation d ...
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Cancer Syndromes
A cancer syndrome, or family cancer syndrome, is a genetic disorder in which inherited genetic mutations in one or more genes predispose the affected individuals to the development of cancers and may also cause the early onset of these cancers. Cancer syndromes often show not only a high lifetime risk of developing cancer, but also the development of multiple independent primary tumors. Many of these syndromes are caused by mutations in tumor suppressor genes, genes that are involved in protecting the cell from turning cancerous. Other genes that may be affected are DNA repair genes, oncogenes and genes involved in the production of blood vessels (angiogenesis). Common examples of inherited cancer syndromes are hereditary breast-ovarian cancer syndrome and hereditary non-polyposis colon cancer (Lynch syndrome). Background Hereditary cancer syndromes underlie 5 to 10% of all cancers and there are over 50 identifiable hereditary forms of cancer. Scientific understanding of cancer ...
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Cancers
Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread. Possible signs and symptoms include a lump, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss, and a change in bowel movements. While these symptoms may indicate cancer, they can also have other causes. Over 100 types of cancers affect humans. Tobacco use is the cause of about 22% of cancer deaths. Another 10% are due to obesity, poor diet, lack of physical activity or excessive drinking of alcohol. Other factors include certain infections, exposure to ionizing radiation, and environmental pollutants. In the developing world, 15% of cancers are due to infections such as '' Helicobacter pylori'', hepatitis B, hepatitis C, human papillomavirus infection, Epstein–Barr virus and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). These factors act, at least partly, by changing the genes of a cel ...
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