Family History of Disease Scares Parents More Than Genetic Test Results

Family History of Disease Scares Parents More Than Genetic Test Results

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted November 6, 2008 in DNA Testing, DNA and Disease

image Should parents purchase direct-to-consumer genetic tests for their under-age children? Joanna Mountain, Senior Director of Research at 23andMe, chose to do so for her two sons and found it to be a positive experience overall (of course!). I have not done so for my two children and haven’t even done so for myself. Just call me chicken.

In a timely study published in the November issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, researchers at the University of Michigan CS Mott Children’s Hospital staged a hypothetical situation and randomized over 1,300 parents to receive hypothetical genetic risk assessments framed as family history or genetic test results. They found that parents were actually more worried if they had observable, tangible evidence of a family history of disease than if the results were purely based on genetic tests.

So it seems that nothing strikes fear into our hearts more than knowing that a family member is ill and that we may also have inherited an increased susceptibility to the illness. While genes may be floating around in our consciousness, they remain an abstract concept that most of us are not able to include in our daily risk analyses.

NB: Daniel MacArthur at Genetic Future has more on genome scans for the whole family although he considers it mainly from a business perspective than from one as a parents since he isn’t one yet.

via Los Angeles Times

Photo credit: Wellcome Images



Related Posts:
10 Reasons NOT To Take a DNA Test...
BRCA Genetic Testing for Women Without a Family History of Breast Cancer...
How to Prepare Yourself for a Genetic Test...
Ambiguous Results from Genetic Testing...
Highlights from the MedHelp Genetics Forum: BRCA Genetic Testing...
Testing Children for Sporting Ability Genes...
Yay or Nay for Genetic Testing?...

RSS feed


Comment by SciPhu

Nice post ! I have had some thoughts on this from a parent perspective, aligns well with the study you are referring to:

Comment by Steven Murphy M.D. Subscribed to comments via email

I am not certain that fear is what was studied. Concern was studied. I think that what this study shows is how absolutely unable to quantify risk most of the public is….once again speaking against DTC testing and interpretation……



[...] children’s risks for genetic disease. With the development of genetic testing and, too, of direct-to-consumer genetic tests, parents can find out a lot more about their genetic profile and quite [...]


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Search Eye on DNA

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner



We comply with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health
verify here.
Eye on DNA is not a substitute for medical advice. Always ask your healthcare provider or genetic counselor for information specific to you.

Mendel's Garden

Healthcare 100 -

View Hsien-Hsien Lei, PhD's profile on LinkedIn

Bloggers' Rights at EFF