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Is it in your DNA? Maybe, maybe not

Dear Heloise: What about these HOME DNA TESTS I see advertised? Can they really tell me about my ancestors and health risks I may incur? — Carol in Montana

Carol, once you supply a saliva sample, these kits purport to identify where your family originated from (your ancestry) and what genetic health concerns you may be in line for.

Your saliva contains DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), which is a blueprint of info about you, Mom, Dad, grandparents and other family members, and this blueprint can tell you about you: the color of your eyes, how tall you are and if you may be predisposed to health problems.

But hold the phone. Experts from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (www.FDA.gov) and the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) agree: These DNA kits are mostly just for fun and entertainment. The info from the test could be wrong or misleading.

Always combine any “medical results” of these DNA tests with a doctor’s consultation. — Heloise

TECH TUESDAY

Dear Readers: A “thumbnail” in the 21st century is not just on your hand. A thumbnail is also a small-sized version of a picture or video used to organize or identify images, just like you would title a written file with text. — Heloise

SAY WHAT?

Dear Readers: Text messages afford us lots of ways to be brief. Here are some common abbreviations:

BBS — be back soon

CM — call me

LOL — laughing out loud

PSOS — parents standing over shoulder

PU — that stinks

SLAP — sounds like a plan

W? — why?

UGTBK — you’ve got to be kidding

— Heloise

A CALL FOR HELP

Dear Heloise: My friend was with her boyfriend when he threatened her, so she got on her phone, called 911 and began to order a pizza. The 911 operator knew she was in trouble and sent help for her.

This is a tactic that domestic violence prevention groups support. — Carla W. in Ohio

FRAGILE OR NOT?

Dear Heloise: I put a “FRAGILE” sticker on my suitcase when I check it at the airport. This way, it usually gets treated better and is first to come off the luggage carousel. — Marta in Pennsylvania

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Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: Heloise@Heloise.com. Letters won’t be answered personally.

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