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NIH-led study finds genetic test results do not trigger increased use of health services
Date:5/17/2012

x genetic test does not mean that a person is certain to get the condition -- only that he or she might have a slightly greater chance of developing the health condition, explained Dr. McBride. There are many things other than genetics that contribute to the risk of common diseases, including lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, smoking and sun exposure.

"Much is written about using genetics to personalize health care," said co-author Lawrence C. Brody, Ph.D., chief of NHGRI's Genome Technology Branch. "Some think that this new generation of genetic tests will be a very positive addition to medicine; others believe they have the potential to make things worse." Dr. Brody designed the panel of genetic tests used in the Multiplex Initiative, consisting of 15 genetic markers that play roles in eight common diseases, including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, lung cancer, colorectal cancer and melanoma.

The Multiplex Initiative was launched in May 2007 by the NHGRI Division of Intramural Research and the National Cancer Institute, both at NIH, along with Group Health Cooperative in Seattle and the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. For the first two years of the study, the investigators accumulated data from 2,000 Detroit area residents who were offered a multiplex genetic test for eight common conditions.

Once enrolled, participants were asked to review information online about the multiplex genetic test and to decide whether they were interested in taking the test. Those who agreed to genetic testing met with a research educator, who provided more information about the risks and benefits of testing, and obtained the patient's written consent. Test results were mailed to participants. Trained research educators called the participants to help them interpret and understand their results. The study also included follow-up interviews with participants three months after
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Contact: Raymond MacDougall
macdougallr@mail.nih.gov
301-402-0911
NIH/National Human Genome Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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