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Study gauges emotional toll of direct-to-consumer genetic testing
Date:10/3/2011

r diseases, for instance the thyroid condition Graves' disease (http://www.mayoclinic.org/graves-disease/), than those commonly known, such as diabetes. One year later, however, patients who had undergone testing were no more stressed than those who hadn't. One surprising result was that men whose genetic risk for prostate cancer was found to be lower than that of the general population, and who also had normal laboratory and physical screening results for the disease, were significantly less stressed about the disease than the control group.

The tests may be useful if they prompt patients to make health-conscious changes, such as losing weight or being vigilant about cancer screening. Some doctors are concerned, however, that patients who learn they have less-than-average genetic risk for a disease might skip steps to promote good health, notes Dr. Cowl. The current study assessed only the emotional effects of the tests. "The ability to determine the actual utility of these tests, that is, whether a calculation of genetic risk accurately predicts disease, is still several years away," he says.


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Contact: Nick Hanson
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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