Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Walgreen’s New DNA – At-Home Genetic Testing Kit

Freak yourself out with new at-home genetic testing kit »

11:17 AM PT, May 12 2010


Attention hypochondriacs! If you are feeling the need to seriously freak yourself out, look no further than your local Walgreens store! Yup, starting Friday you can purchase an at-home test kit that allows people who, well, worry about these things (obsessively) to see if their DNA makes them more likely to develop one (or more!) of dozens of different health conditions. Breast cancer? Check. Heart disease? Check! Alzheimer's disease? Can do! Just swab your cheek, pop it in the mail and within a week or so, your life will be completely ruined!

From The Chicago Tribune:

The product's introduction raises immediate concerns among scientists, bio-ethicists and genetic counselors. They worry that consumers will misuse or misunderstand the results of a test so open to interpretation it is potentially meaningless, or frightening, especially without a full medical assessment.
On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration told the Tribune it is investigating the medical claims the product's manufacturer, California-based Pathway Genomics, is making in marketing its genetic test, which hasn't been approved by U.S. regulators.
Pathway officials say the company's home genetic test meets federal regulations and doesn't require FDA approval.

"The tests conducted are not an in-vitro medical device and are not intended for use in diagnosis, treatment, mitigation or cure of disease. It does provide information that allows a person to learn about their health to make healthier lifestyle choices," said Ed MacBean, Pathway's vice president of product management. "If the FDA contacts us, we will discuss it and address any concerns they might have."

To this I add merely... "Yikes." This product will have all kinds of unintended consequences, methinks.

Results for the tests cost between $79 to $179, depending on the type of tests you chose.

--Richard Metzger

Photo: Pathway Genomics Insight product shot. Credit: Business Wire

Encologist, Dr. Coomer on Cavuto’s show today said she was very wary of this test, its results and its effects.  She is not a fan.

Professional genetic testing uses blood sample, not saliva, for the testing and costs thousands of dollars because it is then analyzed by experts and then presented and worked through with a doctor who is a specialist in this field, so Dr. Coomer is a bit worried about the accuracy or over-reaction to results.

There are also markers that could be identified, for diseases that could be passed on to offspring, that only come into play if both parents have those markers.

And every disease is affected by two factors… genetics and your environment or behavior, which is under your control.

Crooner fears that some people will use their results as a crutch or an excuse and some might even give up on things or allow themselves to go into depression after fixating on their results, which might even be wrong.

She says when all is said and done, this test will probably cost you closer to between $250 and $280 before you are done.

Posted:  True Health Is True Wealth

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