“What you learn about your family medical heritage could save your life—but if you are orphaned, fostered and adopted, it may require a comprehensive investigation by an adoption detective to uncover your medical past.” —Judith Land, Author and Adoptee
Our genes carry unbelievable information of our family medical history. Despite the increasing emphasis on diagnostic technology, many physicians perceive the medical history as the preeminent source of information with a much higher value in diagnosis than either the physical examination or laboratory and radiography information.
Adoptees, who don’t have access to medical records because their parents and relatives are unknown, deceased or uncooperative, may benefit from information recorded in death certificates, obituaries, and old family letters. Even old family photos can provide visual clues to diseases such as obesity, skin conditions, and osteoporosis. Some problems are more common in certain ethnicities. Many medical conditions, including heart disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, alcoholism, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and high blood pressure all have been shown to have links to our past.
The fact that all living things inherit traits from their parents is information that has been used since prehistoric times to improve crop plants and animals through selective breeding. The biological science of genetics, which began with the work of Gregor Mendel in the mid-nineteenth century, seeks to understand the process of inheritance and the physical basis for heredity in our DNA. Many new advances in biological medical science are anticipated in the near future now that the human genome has been discovered.
Judith Land, Author and Adoptee