A new book trailer is making waves across the rare disease community. Author Dr. Sharon Moalem’s newest release, “Inheritance” explores the genetic secrets behind unusual diseases.
The video states:
“Today, there are more than 7,000 known ‘rare’ disorders. But when they are all grouped together, we find that these conditions affect as many as 30 million Americans. That’s roughly one in 10 people living in the United States, or more than the entire population of Nepal.
A good way to visualize this is to picture a football stadium in which almost everyone is wearing a white shirt, save for every single person in every tenth row—those people are all wearing red. Look around the stadium. What do you see? A sea of red.
Now imagine that everyone wearing a red shirt is also holding an envelope. And imagine that in every envelope there is a piece of paper with a sentence on it. And imagine that all of those sentences, put together, tell a story about everyone else in the stadium.
This is why the study of rare conditions is so important.
A small number of people who carry a mutation in a specific gene help us better understand the way the same gene works within all of our bodies. Which is why, above all else, we are indebted to the multitude of people with genetic conditions who assist us in our scientific work.
This certainly isn’t a new concept, and it far precedes our modern understanding of genetic medicine. Way back in 1882—two years before Gregor Mendel’s death—a physician by the name of James Paget, now considered to be one of the founding fathers of medical pathology, noted in the British medical journal The Lancet that it would be shameful to set aside those who are impacted by rare diseases “with idle thoughts or idle words about ‘curiosities’ or ‘chances’.”
“Not one of them is without meaning,” Paget continued. “Not one that might not become the beginning of excellent knowledge, if only we could answer the questions—why is it rare? Or being rare, why did it in this instance happen?” My new book Inheritance answers these questions and explores why research on rare disorders is so critical to our understanding of human health and well-being.
Curing and solving ‘rare’ diseases is important because of the millions of lives directly affected by them. But it doesn’t end there–not even close–because hiding deep inside of everyone with a rare genetic condition is a secret that, if they choose to share it, might one day serve to cure and help every last one of us.”
Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives– and Our Lives Change Our Genes
Illustrations by Bronwyn McMillin
Filmed, edited and scored by Shiraz Higgins (www.mylmedia.com)
Additional footage by Pelle Gustavs
About Sharon Moalem:
Sharon Moalem MD, PhD, is an award-winning scientist, physician, New York Times and international bestselling author of the books Survival of the Sickest and How Sex Works. His much anticipated third book, Inheritance: How Our Genes Change Our Lives and Our Lives Change Our Genes, will be released in April 2014. Dr. Moalem’s research and writing blends medicine, genetics, history and biology, to explain how the human body works in new and fascinating ways. His books have been translated into more than 30 languages.
Dr. Moalem’s scientific work led to the discovery of Sideromycin, a novel antibiotic compound effective against multidrug resistant or ‘superbug’ microorganisms. He has also been awarded 20 patents for inventions related to biotechnology and human health, cofounded two biotechnology companies, and served as an associate editor for the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Dr. Moalem and his research have been featured in The New York Times, TIME magazine, New Scientist, and on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Today, and CNN.