Navigation Links
Buyer Beware! Know What You're Getting When You Buy Online Genetic Tests
Date:7/8/2009

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- They may offer to predict your baby's height, eye color, or athletic ability, and they may even suggest they can predict your risk for cancer, diabetes, Parkinson disease or obesity.

But many of those at-home genetic tests (also known as direct-to-consumer or D-T-C tests) marketed online really can't deliver -- not with any degree of certainty, experts say.

"Buyer beware! These tests are marketed to new and expecting parents and take advantage of their dream of having the perfect baby," says Dr. Jennifer L. Howse, president of the March of Dimes. "Consumers should be extremely cautious before spending the money -- and risking their privacy -- on such tests. Genetics is an exciting new frontier, but the current marketing of these tests raises ethical and medical questions."

The March of Dimes National Communications Advisory Council addressed the pros and cons of direct-to-consumer genetic testing at its bi-annual luncheon titled "Testing Your Personal Genome: What the Tests Can and Cannot Tell You."

Speakers included Siobhan Dolan, MD, MPH, associate professor, Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, a faculty member of the Human Genetics Program at Sarah Lawrence College, and a genetics consultant to the March of Dimes; and Lori B. Andrews, JD, Distinguished Professor of Law and director of the Institute for Science, Law and Technology at Chicago-Kent College of Law, and co-chairperson of the March of Dimes Bioethics Advisory Committee.

The March of Dimes says some genetic tests conducted by a trained professional can provide information about the health risks a woman may face over her lifetime. Tests can also tell a woman if she is the carrier of certain genetic diseases that can be passed on to a child. Working with a health care provider to order and interpret such genetic testing can provide much-needed guidance during the process.

Both speakers pointed out that direct-to-consumer tests are unregulated and noted that the tests are more for entertainment than for useful medical information. Even if a genetic test indicates a statistical predisposition toward a disease or characteristic, it is not a diagnostic test and cannot predict with certainty if the disease will develop.

In fact, the speakers said, we now understand that many diseases or characteristics are more complex than previously thought, resulting from the interaction of numerous genes, behaviors, and the environment - both in the womb and after birth.

Direct-to-consumer test results can have many unintended consequences, say Dr. Dolan and Ms. Andrews, such as:

  • People often misinterpret results showing a disease susceptibility to mean it's a given that they will become ill. This can lead to unnecessary surgery or requests to doctors to treat patients for diseases for which they have no symptoms and may never develop.
  • Other individuals believe that because a test shows they are at low risk for a condition such as heart disease, their behaviors won't make difference. Such a person may react by eating too many fatty foods and avoiding exercise, thus putting them at greater risk of heart disease.
  • Parents might be tempted to test their infants or young children for late-onset conditions such as Huntington disease, although medical professionals recommend not testing for these disorders in those under the age of consent.
  • There is no way to know what happens to the genetic material after the testing -- a privacy issue.

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org.


'/>"/>
SOURCE March of Dimes
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. New Survey Shows Consumers Making Effort to Buy Healthy Foods But Buyer Beware: Zero Isnt Always Zero
2. Safety Alert for Buyers of Used Commercial Zero Turn Mowers
3. Retailers, Buyers to Learn how to Navigate Probiotic Marketplace at Natural Products Expo West 2009
4. Radiation Victims to Rally In Washington - Demand Congressional Action to Protect Homebuyers; Organization Labels EPA's Radon Program a 'Deadly Failure'
5. Greater China suppliers set to end tough 2008 with strong buyer activity at Global Sources Private Sourcing Events
6. Buyers Spend More With Non-Cash Purchases
7. Chair, Ranking Member of U.S. House Judiciary Committee Urge DOJ to do Careful Study of Environmental Record of Vedanta/Sterlite, Other Would-Be Buyers of ASARCO
8. Meetings with Pre-Screened Verified China Suppliers Help 14 Top Buyers, Including Brookstone and Staples, Save Time and Cut Sourcing Costs
9. Buyers Health Care Action Group Pilots New Bridges to Excellence Program for Depression
10. EDR Poll Finds Environmental Professionals, Property Buyers and Lenders Eager to Apply New Vapor Intrusion Standard During Real Estate Transactions to Protect Health and Investments
11. HDMA Applauds Congressmen Buyer (R-IN) and Matheson (D-UT) For Introducing Uniform Federal Pedigree Requirements to Further Enhance Patient Safety, Supply Chain Security
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... , ... 21 Middle East and South Asia Leaders Selected as Eisenhower Fellows ... and civil society in 11 countries across the Middle East and South Asia to ... exchange of knowledge and ideas with the leading minds in their fields. , ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... 23, 2017 , ... PureLife Dental is pleased to announce that California Dental ... As part of the amalgam separator endorsement, all CDA members may purchase an ECO ... the retail value. This partnership between PureLife and CDA is especially timely as it ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... June 23, 2017 , ... American Farmer, will feature Chr. ... is slated to air fourth quarter 2017. American Farmer airs Tuesdays at 8:30aET on ... Danish pharmacist, founded Chr. Hansen in Denmark in 1874 after a groundbreaking discovery of ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2017 , ... ... management, financial planning, and related services to families and business owners in and ... charity drive to benefit senior citizens in the area. , Meals on Wheels ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... , ... All-Star Insurance, a family managed agency that offers insurance management assistance ... the launch of a new charity drive to benefit women in the area diagnosed ... that an estimated 252, 710 new cases of invasive or high risk breast cancer ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/2/2017)... LAWRENCE, Mass. , June 2, 2017  NxStage ... advancing renal care, today announced new findings demonstrating positive ... NxStage ® System One™. The data will be ... 2017, in Madrid, Spain . ... Knowledge to Improve Home Dialysis Network in ...
(Date:5/29/2017)... TEL AVIV, Israel, May 29, 2017  Cellect Biotechnology ... of innovative technology which enables the functional selection of ... financial results for the first quarter ended March 31 ... pleased with our accomplishments in the first quarter of ... the first quarter, we announced the treatment of the ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... , May 22, 2017  Lilac Corp, ... Gene-Eden-VIR/Novirin, announces the launch of a new ... the results of a clinical study that showed ... treatment with Gene-Eden-VIR/Novirin in individuals suffering from HPV ... note that there are no other treatments that ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: