Blood Matters: From Inherited Illness to Designer Babies, How the World and I Found Ourselves in the Future of the Gene. Masha Gessen. Review: Blood Matters: A Journey Along the Genetic Frontier by Masha GessenHilary Rose finds hope and caution in a thoughtful survey of. Aged 37, a seemingly healthy Masha Gessen is advised to cut off her breasts and remove her ovaries. Living in the shadow of her mother’s.

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In such tough situations we all have to find how to make such a decision. Essentially there are only 2 books written by women who’ve tested positive for BRCA gene mutation: In the first and last chapters alone, this author tells a beautiful story about living in the midst of the genetic information age.

I found it to be a very interesting book that The author examines ever advancing world of genetics. Instead, she makes a compelling case that we need to look at what we already know and what testing could help us know, and start our thinking from there. Aug 28, Alison rated it liked it.

She doesn’t always give answers, either; part of what makes the book so interesting is that it’s never clear that there are one-size-fits-all answers to the questions we have about genetic testing — making the pondering of the questions that much more important. Author discovers she has inherited a defective gene common in her Jewish ancestors.

In the first, Gessen describes her family’s challenges with their inherited diseases, and inquires how these hereditary diseases get passed down in the first place.

This book is sort of dumb about genetics poor understanding of evolution being the gesssen problem even while it is appropriately skeptical about connections between genes and behavior and put off by the personalities of scientists.


To ask other readers questions about Blood Mattersplease sign up. Starts as a memoir and cycled through history and the innovations in genetic medicine. Gessen ably balances her reporting with her personal experience, using each to inform the other.

Fortunately after introducing the reason behind the book Gessen gets on to the science and her own process of learning about it. In the first chapter when Gessen is recounting her mother’s death and her own fears about breast cancer I was reluctant to keep reading. In this section Gessen gets more deeply into the cruel variety of hereditary diseases and how these diseases shape the lives of those who have them.

May 31, Judy added it Shelves: In genetic testing revealed that Masha Gessen had a mutation that predisposed her to ovarian and breast cancer.

This book was more comprehensive and held up better with time than I expected.

These are new ethical matterss, and the people who confront them are, as the anthropologist Rayna Rapp observes, “moral pioneers”.

Aug 02, Pilar rated it it was ok. It is not that she doesn’t mention the setbacks and the partial recoveries, but the hope is strong – and who with any feeling for such children and their families wouldn’t hope?

Masha Gessen born is a Russian journalist, translator, and nonfiction author. Open Preview See a Problem? But after the relatively modest successes of gene therapy derived from the human genome project, it would probably be wisest to blend this hope with a strong dose of caution.

Blood Matters by Masha Gessen | Books | The Guardian

She lauds the clinicians who work with Amish and Mennonite groups in Pennsylvania, developing diets to stave off the worse effects of inherited metabolic diseases. And with stem-cell debate and religion mixed up in genetics in the U.


M asha Gessen has chosen a shrewd title for her book. There was a problem adding your email address. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Gessen is compelling though; I guess I wanted it to be more memoir and less research. Sep 17, Cindy rated it really liked it.

BLOOD MATTERS by Masha Gessen | Kirkus Reviews

Sep 22, Mathew rated it really liked it. All the way through, Gessen provides a singular, embedded viewpoint filtering what she learns through her how journey of deciding how to handle the news of her own BRCA mutation. Lisa rated it really liked it Feb 04, Sep 14, Devon rated it it was amazing Shelves: The mother of one adopted and one biological child, she is considering having another baby, but the genetic counselor she consults advises an ovariectomy and perhaps a double mastectomy.

Her own story is often the focus, as she relates the deaths of her mother and other relatives from breast or ovarian cancers and traces the inheritance of the BRCA1 gene to her great-great-grandmother. Hang on to the NHS, dear readers; we may still have to fight postcode care, but it is not our health insurance company that dictates the medical treatment we must have. You can get your science, educational and personal journey fix all in one book.