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Encyclopedia > Genetic counseling

Genetic counseling is the process by which patients or relatives, at risk of an inherited disorder, are advised of the consequences and nature of the disorder, the probability of developing or transmitting it, and the options open to them in management and family planning in order to prevent, avoid or ameliorate it. This complex process can be seen from diagnostic (the actual estimation of risk) and supportive aspects. Since expert and private handling of genetic recurrence information is essential, practitioners must be certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling. Those seeking a Genetic Counselor can search their local area using the National Society of Genetic Counselors website. Oral contraceptives. ...


Headline text

Bold textpudding==Periods== Genetic counseling can occur before conception (i.e. when one or two of the parents are carriers of a certain trait), during pregnancy (i.e. if an abnormality is noted on an ultrasound or if the woman will be over 35 at delivery), after birth (if a birth defect is seen), during childhood (i.e. if the child has developmental delay), or even adulthood (for adult onset genetic conditions such as Huntington's disease or hereditary cancer syndromes).

Risk factors

In certain circles, premarital genetic testing is already a fact of life, i.e. in West-Africans from countries with a high occurrence of sickle-cell disease[1], and in Jewish people of Eastern-European Ashkenazi background (e.g. Tay-Sachs disease[2], see also Dor Yeshorim). Premarital genetic counselling is also a legal requirement for marriage between first cousins in Maine. Sickle-cell disease is a general term for a group of genetic disorders caused by sickle hemoglobin (Hgb S or Hb S). ... The word Jew (Hebrew: יהודי) is used in a wide number of ways, but generally refers to a follower of the Jewish faith, a child of a Jewish mother, or a member of the Jewish culture or ethnicity and often a combination of these attributes. ... Ashkenazi Jews, also known as Ashkenazic Jews or Ashkenazim (אַשְׁכֲּנָזִי אַשְׁכֲּנָזִים Standard Hebrew, AÅ¡kanazi,AÅ¡kanazim, Tiberian Hebrew, ʾAÅ¡kănāzî, ʾAÅ¡kănāzîm, pronounced sing. ... Tay-Sachs disease (abbreviated TSD, also known as GM2 gangliosidosis) is a genetic disorder, fatal in its most common variant known as Infantile Tay-Sachs disease. ... Dor Yeshorim (Hebrew: generation [that is] straight/reliable) is an organization that offers genetic screening to members of Orthodox Jewish communities. ... A cousin chart identifies the correct name for the relationship between two people with a common ancestor. ... Official language(s) None (English de facto) Capital Augusta Largest city Portland Area  Ranked 39th  - Total 33,414 sq mi (86,542 km²)  - Width 210 miles (338 km)  - Length 320 miles (515 km)  - % water 13. ...

Who provides it?

Prenatal genetic counseling is usually provided by genetic counselors at a high risk or specialty prenatal clinics that offer prenatal diagnosis. Pediatric and adult genetic counseling is often provided at genetic centers by a doctor called clinical geneticists. Sometimes pediatric and adult genetic counseling is done by a genetic counselor or genetic nurse. A genetic counselor is a health professional with specialized graduate degrees and experience in the areas of medical genetics and counseling. Most enter the field from a variety of disciplines, including biology, genetics, nursing, psychology, public health and social work. Prenatal diagnosis is the diagnosis of disease or condition in a fetus or embryo before it is born. ... A geneticist is a physician who diagnoses, treats, and counsels patients with genetic disorders or syndromes. ... Medical Genetics is the application of genetics to medicine. ... Biology (from Greek βίος λόγος, see below) is the branch of science dealing with the study of living organisms. ... Genetics (from the Greek genno γεννώ= give birth) is the science of genes, heredity, and the variation of organisms. ... Nursing is a discipline focused on assisting individuals, families and communities in attaining, re-attaining and maintaining optimal health and functioning. ... Psychology is an academic and applied field involving the study of the human mind, brain, and behavior. ...

Genetic counselors work as members of a health care team, providing information and support to families who have members with birth defects or genetic disorders and to families who may be at risk for a variety of inherited conditions. They identify families at risk, investigate the problems present in the family, interpret information about the disorder, analyze inheritance patterns and risks of recurrence and review available options with the family.

Supportive counseling

Genetic counselors also provide supportive counseling to families, serve as patient advocates and refer individuals and families to community or state support services. They serve as educators and resource people for other health care professionals and for the general public. Some counselors also work in administrative capacities. Many engage in research activities related to the field of medical genetics and genetic counseling.


  1. ^ Konotey-Ahulu FID. Effect of environment on sickle cell disease in West Africa: epidemiologic and clinical considerations. In: Sickle Cell Disease, Diagnosis, Management, Education and Research. Abramson H, Bertles JF, Wethers DL, eds. CV Mosby Co, St. Louis. 1973; 20; cited in D. V. Desai, Hiren Dhanani: Sickle Cell Disease: History And Origin. The Internet Journal of Hematology. 2004. Volume 1 Number 2
  2. ^ Frisch A, Colombo R, Michaelovsky E, Karpati M, Goldman B, Peleg L. (2004). "Origin and spread of the 1278insTATC mutation causing Tay-Sachs disease in Ashkenazi Jews: genetic drift as a robust and parsimonious hypothesis.". Human Genetics 114 (4): 366-76. PMID 14727180.

See also

Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution: Logo from the Second International Congress of Eugenics, 1921, depicting it as a tree which unites a variety of different fields. ... Life unworthy of life (in German: Lebensunwertes Leben) was a Nazi term for those human beings who, by reason of their racial or genetic background, the Nazis believed had no right to life and should be murdered. ...

External links

  • American Board of Genetic Counseling
  • National Society of Genetic Counselors
  • Canadian Association of Genetic Counsellors

  Results from FactBites:
Genetic counseling (2141 words)
Genetic counseling in common disorders is often given by the family doctor, the pediatrician or the obstetrician.
Counseling sessions for older parents, or for those requesting prenatal diagnosis because of anxiety (close contact with a handicapped individual, for example) are intended to provide information concerning the benefits and risks inherent to prenatal diagnostic techniques.
The training of individuals competent to give genetic counseling has been formalized in a number of European countries, as was done in the United States and Canada a number of years ago through their respective Boards of Medical Genetics.
Hemophilia Galaxy | Genetic Counseling (995 words)
Genetic counselors are health professionals with specialized graduate degrees and experience in the areas of medical genetics and counseling.
Genetic counselors work as members of a health-care team, providing information and support to families who have members with birth defects or genetic disorders and to families who may be at risk for a variety of inherited conditions.
Genetic counselors have a minimum of a master’s degree in genetic counseling or a related field.
  More results at FactBites »



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