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Walgreens Postpones Plans to Sell Do-It-Yourself Genetic Test
Date:5/13/2010

it would offer genetic counseling over the phone to those who want it.

"There are psychological aspects to all kinds of genetic testing," said Thompson. "Obviously if you don't understand the results, or if the testing provides results that address issues that were not concerns of yours, or it provides information that has implications for other family members, it's certainly likely to cause apprehension, anxiety and undue concern."

Marion said such tests are likely to find some abnormalities but most will be medically insignificant.

There are also privacy issues.

"Who has access to this information? Who owns this information? Who's responsible? This opens a Pandora's box of questions that are not answerable," Marion said.

And understanding the results of genetic tests require a fairly sophisticated level of knowledge.

"We have a difficult time explaining risks and understanding risks as far as any of us are concerned," Thompson said. "I think the individual who takes a test such as this should learn as much as possible, and it's a good idea to [consult] a health-care professional."

More information

The Human Genome Project has more on genetic testing.



SOURCES: Robert Marion, M.D., chief of genetics and development medicine and director, Center for Congenital Disorders, Children's Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; Barry H. Thompson, M.D., medical director, American College of Medical Genetics, Bethesda, Md.; Washington Post


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