July 23rd, 2010

Friday Foolery #94: Personal Genetics Hoopla

Home Genetic Tests Get An ‘F’ from GAO? Does the Government Accountability Office actually hand out grades or is that from an overzealous headline writer?

I don’t get it based on my own genetic testing experience with 23andme. I do agree that shady customer service and marketing claims should be investigated and am glad steps are being taken to work with the FDA, but this should not have a fear factor element spun on it just because personal genetics is a relatively new field.

Maybe it’s because I’m a medical librarian. I understand that established research studies are more credible than preliminary research studies (what might be behind the reason  varying levels of increased and decreased risk are reported for the same person), actually read through everything in giving informed consent, and know that correlation does not imply causation.

Maybe it’s because I learned more about the role of genetics and electronic medical records in Woods Hole last year.

Maybe it’s because I did recombinant DNA engineering back in the dark ages when I was a junior in high school.

Whatever the case may be, I’m still very pleased my husband and I took advantage of the $99 complete deal 23andme offered a few months ago. We have not personally encountered any of the issues the GAO have identified with false advertising and misleading claims and aren’t alarmed by anything we learned even though there are some conversations we are going to have with our family to share some information as a result of it.

If you’d like to see behind the scenes in a comprehensive review of what the 23andme testing process and results are, the company tweeted about that one.  From our own profile it goes to show that if you listen carefully your body tells you exactly what a good thing is for it:

More coffee please!

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