Rare Genetic Mutation May Explain Some Forms of Multiple Sclerosis

Canadian scientists have uncovered a single genetic mutation that significantly heightens a person’s chance of developing a progressive and severe form of multiple sclerosis. While no single factor is responsible for causing the neurological disease, the discovery points to possible treatment options.

Source: Rare Genetic Mutation May Explain Some Forms of Multiple Sclerosis

That’s a very small sample size…

Are Sperm Banks in the Business of Eugenics?

The most prominent sperm bank in the UK is under investigation after turning away donors with dyslexia and other questionable characteristics. This raises an important question: Should sperm banks be in the business of making “better” babies?

Source: Are Sperm Banks in the Business of Eugenics?

Picking who you have children with can also be considered eugenics…

This is another of those weird new instances where there isn’t really a difference between what is going on here with the assistance of new technology and what has been going on for a while, but the new thing feels really disconcerting. I don’t know if that feeling is justified, but it is there, and I think we’d do well to talk about it openly, at the very least.

In addition, though, this is sort of different because this necessarily applies a scientific sheen to what are unscientific gut feelings a lot of the time (as we currently know it). The reality is that we don’t really know what genes cause what things in people, or whether they are entirely genetic. Narrowing the pool of sperm donors like this seems like a hasty reaction that might not end up being beneficial at all and only really serves to further stigmatize those diseases and disabilities.

Then there’s the part about assessment based on things that can be due to epigenetics…

Genes Link Low Vitamin D with Multiple Sclerosis Risk

Researchers have found a possible genetic link between low vitamin D levels and multiple sclerosis; something that has long been suspected, but difficult to prove.

Source: Genes link low vitamin D with multiple sclerosis risk

The findings are interesting, given that lots of things are fortified with vitamin D (IE milk, cheese) because you need vitamin D to process calcium.  And there’s the fact that we can make our own vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.  You probably don’t need a vitamin D test

Keep in mind that the supplement suggested to be used in future studies is going to be clinical, not off the shelf.  If you are interested in better vitamin D intake, I’d advise sources other than supplements as there’s a lot of fraud in supplements.  Unless you’re lactose intolerant, milk is cheap and easily accessible.