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Discovering the family history of Huntington disease (HD)

, : Discovering the family history of Huntington disease (HD). Journal of Genetic Counseling 15(2): 105-117

A considerable body of research has explored both predictive genetic test decisions for Huntington disease (HD) and the impact of receiving a test result. Extant research reveals little, however, about how and when at risk persons first discover their family history of HD. Drawing upon 24 semi-structured interviews with at risk persons and their family members, this study explored initial discovery of HD in the family. Qualitative data analysis revealed four different, though sometimes related, trajectories of discovery: (1) something is wrong, (2) out of the blue, (3) knowing, but dismissing, and 4) growing up with HD. These pathways highlighted the importance of the temporal and historical contexts in which genetic risk for HD was discovered. Notably, ignorance about HD was the most salient feature shaping participants' narratives of discovery. Implications for research and clinical practice are discussed.


PMID: 16541330

DOI: 10.1007/s10897-006-9018-7

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