Friday May 15, 2015
Lisa Genova unravels Huntington's disease in 'Inside the O'Briens'
"There's a simple blood test that can tell you if you carry the gene... Would you want to know? Would you be able to live with the constant anxiety of not knowing?" - Lisa Genova, novelist and neuroscientist
Huntington's is a disease very much bound up in family ties. It's an inherited condition. If your parent has Huntington's, then you have a fifty-fifty chance of developing it too. And so in families where Huntington's is present, the disease looms large.
That's certainly the case in the fictional O'Brien family, in a new novel by Lisa Genova. You may know Lisa Genova from her previous bestsellers including her debut novel "Still Alice." That was a story centered on early onset Alzheimer's, and since then her books have focused on other neurological disorders, including autism and Left Neglect.
Lisa Genova is a neuroscientist, as well as a novelist, and it's with that rare combination of skills that she brings the drama of life with the disease alive on the page. Her new novel is called "Inside the O'Briens," and charts what happens inside a family when a Boston police officer named Joe O'Brien gets his Huntington's diagnosis.
Lisa Genova joined us in our Toronto studio.
If you have Huntington's disease in your family, let us know if this resonates with you. Send us an email.
This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry.
Read an Excerpt from "Inside The O'Briens" by Lisa Genova - Simon and Schuster
Chatting with author Lisa Genova - Star Telegram
Inside Lisa Genova's medical best sellers - USA Today
For the children of parents with Huntington's disease, there's a big decision to make -- whether to be tested or not.
A young woman, named Kelly, whose mother has Huntington's, decided to get tested to find out if she carried the Huntington's disease. Her story aired on This American Life.