Medicine: Do They Really Want to Know?

A new test confounds potential Huntington's disease victims

As a scientist, Nancy Wexler always thought she would want to know. Since watching her mother die in 1978 of Huntington's disease, the 41-year-old Columbia University neuropsychologist has wondered if she too will develop the untreatable and fatal brain disorder. She was all too aware that a child with a Huntington's parent has a 50% chance of contracting the inherited disease, usually between the ages of 35 and 45. Now the answer is hers for the asking, thanks to a complex chromosomal test Wexler herself helped devise.

Last month that test was given for the first time to two young adults...

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