DNA Tests Drive Controversy
If you could find out the diseases you were most likely to contract late in life, would you want to know? Thanks to Navigenics, a genetic testing start-up, that question is no longer a hypothetical. For $2500 and a swab of saliva, you can find out whether you are genetically predisposed to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and breast cancer. The firm feels that with such information in hand, people will be encouraged to pursue a healthier lifestyle and ultimately stave off their preconditions.
But the medical community isn’t entirely sold. Speaking in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Kenneth Offit shared his concerns with the DNA testing:
“Health professionals are now faced with the prospect of patients coming to the office, DNA profile in hand, asking for preventive management tailored to their specific disease risks.”
Will Navigenics create a new breed of hyper-informed, overly demanding patients? Oh wait, we already have WebMD to blame for that. — Johnny