Is trucking in your DNA?

by Rob Wilkins

I had the most interesting conversation the other day with an old friend of mine. He recently signed up for DNA testing and his results had just come in.

Apparently, DNA testing has come way down in price. As a result, more and more people are finding out early in life if they have genetic risks for things like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.

Ever wonder about those heavy eyebrows you sprouted years ago? These tests can even tell you if you are of a Neanderthal descendant.

I admit, I had my DNA analyzed as well, but it wasn’t out of curiosity. I had a health issue that could have been caused by a mutant gene and the doctors needed to determine if my family was at risk.

This was “need to know” information, so I’m very happy DNA testing has evolved so quickly.

This leads me to my point. Do we really want to know what “could” happen to us in our senior years?

Some will argue knowing this type of information will only cause us sleepless nights and a depressed quality of life.

Others will say it’s better to know so they can start checking off items from their bucket lists early and enjoy living life to the fullest, while they still can.

The way I look at it, if there isn’t a cure, or at the very least, known measures that can slow things down with minimal side-effects, I don’t want to know.

I don’t think I’m hiding my head in the sand.

It’s just that this life goes by so fast, and I’m bound and determined to enjoy the ride without the burden of knowing what “could” happen to me in the end.

Back to my friend. He is four times more likely to get Parkinson’s disease and two times more likely to end up with Alzheimer’s than the general population. He’s not sure where the Alzheimer’s came from, since no one in his family has had it, but Parkinson’s does run in his family.

Before they gave him this bit of news, they asked him if he was sure he wanted to hear the results. Just hearing that question is going to force most people into saying yes. Obviously, my friend agreed since he wanted this information regardless of that baited question.

I’ve often heard, “If you’re a trucker, it’s in your DNA.” Although there’s no test for that, I bet it’s true. Just look at how many families make their living behind the wheel.

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  • These DNA tests that let people know they have genetic predisposition to one disease or another, only cause the paranoia to increase. Women having breasts removed and people planning bucket lists! What ever happened to the wonder of life? Couples must know the gender of their babies, no surprises! What if our life span is mapped in our DNA as well and it’s just that no one has figured out that gene yet? What happens when they do?