---Neil deGrasse Tyson
How much information is too much information? A computer allows us instant access to knowledge that is sometimes more than we can comfortably handle. If you google "common cold" because you have a stuffy nose, you will learn about cause and treatment, but you will also get a laundry list of possible complications. By the time you finish reading all of the ways the "common cold" can kill you, you will feel a great deal sicker than when you started.
How about googling the name of your blind date? While you might get enough information to assure you he/she is not a serial killer, you have also removed any possible mystery from a relationship before you have seen his/her smile. Unfortunately, much of what is put on the internet is biased or just plain incorrect, so you might even be judging your date without accurately knowing the facts.
I have found that learning "facts" without someone to guide me through those facts can often be frightening. When I went for an MRI for the first time, and the technician handed me the CD to bring to my doctor, I decided to take a sneak peak. By the time I brought it to the doctor, I had found so many horrifying things on that image, that I was ready to solidify my will. Of course every spot that I had uncovered was explained away by a physician who had gone through ten years of school to understand what he was looking at, and my two sleepless nights were for naught. I learned to NEVER try to discover test results without a doctor's help.
So now I am questioning the newest medical breakthrough...at home genetic testing. 23andMe is a genetic service available to you at home. Just send in a saliva sample and receive results in your mailbox. You can tell if you are genetically predisposed to quite a few life-altering diseases in the comfort of your home...WITHOUT a physician to explain what those results mean for you personally.
In some instances, knowing you are predisposed to a particular disease or condition allows you to take certain precautions, change certain lifestyles or plan accordingly. On the other hand, having the genetic marker for something does not mean you will definitely get it. Lifestyle and environment often are influencing factors, and a physician can determine what, if anything needs to happen to assure you a healthy future. Reading results without accompanying explanations will often cause panic that could have been avoided. As of now, I think I will take a pass on my genetic make-up and just continue to try to live a healthy lifestyle.
Of course a healthy lifestyle includes plenty of relaxation, and for me that means plenty of laughter and books, books, books. The death of Don Rickles caused me to order his book, Rickles' Book, A Memoir, and as always, Mr. Rickles gave me plenty of chuckles. He talks about his growing up years and the people in his life, and he displays very little of the sarcastic personality he is so well known for as he shares his life with a public that will miss him.
Reading about medical breakthroughs this past week gave me incentive to read Deborah Hawkins' latest novel, The Death of Distant Stars: A Legal Thriller. Hawkins takes on "Big Pharma" in this well written thriller, and she definitely made me think twice about the many "wonder drugs" that are being introduced to a naive public. Definitely a thought provoking novel.
As always complete reviews of these books follow this blog.