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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Nationality and Mitochondrial Disease...

French,English,Irish,Scottish,Polish,Russian,Czech, and who knows what else? That is Abby's heritage. Recently after we started doing more genetic studies I have been hitting Ancestry.com and found my husbands Great Grandparents were Jewish, and about 6 generations back a freed(or perhaps not so free, but still listed as married and Mother) slave from Barbados entered our families lineage.

One of my many questions is what is the racial distribution of Mitochondrial Disease?

Years ago when I started joining online support groups, I have found a predominance of caucasian patients with myopathies. I suspect that because a predominance of caucasians continue traditional families where the mother is at home(thus have more time to find online support groups.)

Just guessing, because despite turning the web upside I have yet to find a graph that shows which nationalities have higher levels of Mitochondrial disease.

There are some diseases that have higher rates in certain populations. We know that a few diseases are predominant in those of Jewish heritage.. we know Sickle Cell is predominant in those with African ancestry.

The only data I have is via the Web. I have found support groups for Mito from all over the Globe.(Thank you google translate!). Again and again I have looked for data to answer my question, and just not finding it.

It is not like this information will make a difference to Abby or me as far as medical care, but I just find the genetics very interesting. Well outside of my education, but enjoyable to research.

When at the UT building in the MedCenter Houston, I try to pay attention and do a head count- but, the MedCenter serves many many Nationalities- some from other Countries- so no way to know which ones are being seen by any of the specialists for Mitochondrial diseases. Yet, I cannot help but wonder if our heritage may hint at whether to watch for Mito?

If you are a petite caucasian woman you know to watch for Osteoporosis.. If you are of Jewish Ancestry you know to watch for Tay-Sachs disease.. I wonder if knowing your risks based on nationality would help diagnose Mito faster.

Somewhere deep inside me, I think if they found that for example, being of Polish or Scottish heritage puts you at a higher risk then I could blame that instead of wondering what I must have done wrong during my pregnancy to cause this in Abby. You just cannot help but wonder if you used too much plastic, too many vaccines(recent court case proved that vaccines triggered Mitochondrial disease which triggered Autism), lived too close to a power line,exposed to too much pollution,ate too many pesticides on your food..I realize I may never know, but to know just seems so reassuring to me, even if it turns out to be something I could have controlled.

Clearly Abby is a Heinz 57 when it comes to her genealogy- even if they found a predominance it might be difficult to weed out which ancestor to thank for this nasty disease..

I know my Dad was a floppy baby and slow to walk and had significant allergies and asthma(lots of hospital time). I know on my Mom's side my Gram was a medical marvel...so who knows? Maybe it took the perfect storm of genes to end up where Abby is at...still, I cannot help but want to know- my fault, or heritage?


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