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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Couples should get health checks for sake of children

Our readers have their say about cousin marriages, UAE delivery drivers and Remembrance Day

Cousin marriages can lead to health defects. Amy Leang/The National
Cousin marriages can lead to health defects. Amy Leang/The National

I read with interest a story from your archives on consanguineous marriage (November 17, 2012). Attitudes toward marriage between blood relations vary considerably across all cultures but whatever the traditions, there are serious health concern regarding consanguinity, or marriage between blood relatives. Marriage between first cousins can more than double the risk of giving birth to a baby with a congenital heart or lung defect, thalassemia or Down syndrome.

Cousin marriages in Pakistan, where I am from, account for more than half of all marriages, so there is a need for an awareness campaign about the importance of premarital blood screening to rule out the risk of diseases and birth defects.These risks do not rule out marriage between cousins but society must realise the importance of premarital blood screening. We all carry different genetic defects that can lead to diseases in ourselves or our children but if there is a higher percentage of DNA shared by one couple, there are more chances of birth defects.

During my research and medical practice in Peshawar, Bajaur, Mardan, Islamabad and Saudi Arabia, I have seen many cases where several children in the same family inherited the same disease. I would suggest married couples who are relatives should go for genetic counselling and tests as a sensible measure.

Dr Faisal Khan, Saudi Arabia

A message from the driver’s seat to UAE motorcyclists

I write with reference to your story Motorbike delivery riders fear for their lives on UAE roads (Nov 11): I am terrified watching the way some of these guys ride their bikes. They ride far too close to the back of my truck, tucked into my blind spot. I don’t want to be living with someone’s death on my conscience because they were riding dangerously. Give us a chance to see you, give yourselves a chance to slow and stop safely, stop making illegal manoeuvres and let’s all live another day, please.

Emma Woodcock, Dubai

Armistice commemoration was a truly fitting tribute

Regarding your story World leaders gather in Paris a century after First World War armistice (Nov 12), as Emmanuel Macron said to 60 dignitaries, we are not free of the demons of war nor the human cost of conflict.

K Ragavan, Bengaluru