People With Dupuytren’s Disease Inherited it From Neanderthals
PEOPLE WITH DUPUYTREN’S DISEASE INHERITED IT FROM NEANDERTHALS ANCESTORS
I’ve never heard of Dupuytren’s Disease, though it’s likely that I will inherit it from at least one grandparent. While I haven’t heard of it, I have seen it. For my maternal grandmother, I have long assumed that her curling, pained hands were mostly, if not exclusively, a result of rheumatoid arthritis. And while she definitely suffered from that, it doesn’t explain the degree to which her fingers curled inward, which was likely caused by Dupuytren’s Disease, which involves the connective fibrous tissues in the hands to thicken. And while we’ve known of this disease for some time, we’ve just learned that this is something inherited from Neanderthals.
DUPUYTREN’S DISEASE CAUSES FINGERS TO CURL INWARDS, BUT MOST CASES ARE CORRECTIBLE
For those unfamiliar with their own genetics, or what is common for people to learn about when they get their own genes mapped, Neanderthal genes compose a small amount in many peoples’ genetic history. So when you call someone a Neanderthal, it’s less of an insult these days than it is an unintended observation. But Dupuytren’s Disease is something that came from Neanderthals, and the days when early humans clearly cross-bred with them, making them all but disappear into the general human population. Neanderthals didn’t die out. They became us.
BESIDES NEANDERTHALS GENES, DIABETES AND SEIZURES INCREASE RISK OFDUPUYTREN’S DISEASE
But not everyone is part Neanderthal, or has a chance of suffering from Dupuytren’s Disease. Those at risk for being part Neanderthal and having their hands curl are Northern European and Scandinavian. If you have diabetes or seizure disorders, that increases your risk of having Dupuytren’s Disease as well. So if you find that you have it as you age, you can get surgery to correct it. But in the most severe cases, the disease turns the hand into a withered, unusable claw, and prompts some to have their afflicted hands removed.
But as scientists are now able to track these Neanderthal genes, you will soon discover if you are at risk for Dupuytren’s Disease, and so much else. That is, if you are willing to hazard the privacy concerns and whatever healthcare system you live under.