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Inherited Disorders and Birth Defects

Balanced Translocation Chromosome 7 & 10

03/31/2010

Question:

Hi, I have a question. A few years ago after a few miscarriages they found by me a balanced translocation of chromosome 7 and 10. The tell me that this doesn`t effect me personally, but is makes the possibility to miscarriage bigger.

The also asked me if I had a father or brother with personal problems. Because an unbalanced translocation can give personal problems.

Now my question: is it possible if you have a balanced translocation that I have personal problems myself? My whole life I`m affraid for peoples reactions on different ways. I don`t talk to people many times because I`m afraid.

I tried to solve this problem with a shrink, but this doesn`t help very much.

So I want to know if it`s possible to have personal disorders with a balanced translocation. Excuses for my bad Englishl. I come from holland.


Answer:

You are correct that a person with a balanced chromosome rearrangement has an increased chance to have miscarriages, however it is unlikely that your chromosomal rearrangement is related to your mental health (personal) problems. As you probably are aware, a balanced translocation occurs when two pieces of chromosomes break off and switch places with each other. If all the chromosomal material is present, but has switched places (translocated) - this person should have no health problems since all the chromosomal material needed is present and functioning properly. This is called a balanced translocation.

However, there can be problems if some of the chromosomal material that was switched is lost or duplicated when the chromosomes broke and the switch took place – then there is extra and / or missing information that can lead to birth defects, learning disabilities and / or mental retardation. This is an unbalanced translocation.

If the chromosome rearrangement is balanced – such as the 7 and 10 translocation that is in your family, you would not usually see mental health problems due to the translocation. However, mental health problems (personal problems) can run in families – mental health problems or psychiatric disorders are not caused by chromosome rearrangements, but are considered to be "multifactorial" – that is both genetic (multiple genes) and environmental factors interact to cause a person to have the condition. Someone, such as yourself, can have a balanced chromosomal translocation and also have other health problems, such as mental health problems, which run in their family.

It is most likely that by chance your father and brother, who both have the translocation, also have mental health problems. The best person to help you with a mental health problem is a psychologist or psychiatrist (“shrink”). If you did not feel that it was helpful before, perhaps you should talk to your doctor about finding a different mental health specialist.

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Response by:

Anne   Matthews, RN, PhD Anne Matthews, RN, PhD
Associate Professor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University