Friday, November 2, 2007

Collecting your family's medical history

Thanks to the U. S. Surgeon General's Family History Initiative, launched in 2004, the Thanksgiving holiday season has become a time to take advantage of all that family togetherness and gather as much family medical history as possible. Alan Smith's most recent article, "Medical Family History," keeps us reminded of the importance of collecting a this information and how it can help you identify important health patterns through the generations. So you may wish to begin now, preparing for what you can learn this holiday season.

To aid families, is the new, revised version of the tool, "My Family Health Portrait," a collaboration between the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and the National Human Genome Research Institute. In case you are not familiar, "My Family Health Portrait" provides a place for you to record and story your personal family health information. This is a web-enabled program that runs on any computer that is connected to the Internet and running an up-to-date version of any major Internet browser (Mozilla, Internet Explorer, etc.). The new version of the tool offers numerous advantages over previous versions, which had to be downloaded to the user's computer and was available only to those running the Microsoft Windows operating system. This new version is accessible to all and is free to use.

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