Why understanding the genetics of my heart disease isn’t much help

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Atrial fibrillation is a heart disorder that causes the upper chambers of the heart to spasm instead of beating regularly. While that sounds dangerous, the lack of a regular heartbeat itself isn’t dangerous. Instead, a-fib causes lots of indirect problems that can be debilitating or fatal. We’re making progress in understanding the disease, as evidenced by two new papers that identify a total of 18 genes that predispose people to a-fib.

That should be exciting news. And it should be especially exciting to me, since I could have easily contributed to that study—as one of its subjects. I have a-fib, which I seem to have inherited from my mother.

Getting a better understanding of a disease can open all sorts of possibilities

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