Just because something is legal, doesn’t make it right. Just because we enjoy a right of free speech, doesn’t mean we should be verbally insulting people. Just because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a treatment or a test, doesn’t mean we should pursue it. The FDA has given approval to 23andMe, a private company, to provide genetic testing directly to individuals. The results provide genetic risks of contracting several ...

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“Personalized” medicine sounds appealing. Rather than just guessing at what medication to try, a genetic test can figure out, in advance, which medications will be effective and which medications are more likely to make you sicker. Except it doesn’t work. It’s mostly marketing and hype. The FDA has officially warned consumers and physicians that genetic tests sold to predict patient responses to medications shouldn’t be used. They’re not FDA approved, and ...

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STAT_Logo "Is she in pain?" I asked quietly as the pearlescent baby-shaped image on the screen folded its legs and then extended them. The radiologist doing my ultrasound had just finished pointing out a cluster of alarming abnormalities in our developing daughter, using a slew of medical terms my husband and I, both medical students, were grimly familiar with. Pleural ...

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Health care providers and even consumers who order their own genetic testing should really get to know GINA. Who or what is GINA? Is it some new virtual voice-activated personal assistant? Is she a new Italian superstar? Neither choice is correct. GINA stands for the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, a U.S. federal law that was put in place to protect consumers from discrimination based on their genetic testing. GINA celebrates ...

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For $199 and a tube of saliva, I found out that I have straight hair and green eyes. Mirrors have been telling me this my whole life for free. But as a genetics counselor, I wanted to learn more about the recreational home genetics tests that have been captivating people. What I was left with (aside from the aforementioned physical description and unsurprising heritage data), was the sense that the dangers ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 46-year-old man is evaluated for intermittent rectal bleeding of 3 months' duration. He is otherwise well and takes no medications. His father had a few polyps removed from the colon when he was 71 years old, but no other details are known about his father's medical history. The ...

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Before the invention of the stethoscope, doctors routinely laid their ears on chests of patients to check how they were doing. Homemade concoctions, essentially placebos, often made people feel better. Doctors visited homes of patients who would later pay them whatever they could afford. Local apothecaries sold morphine, a derivative of opium, to reduce pain. Medicine for its part was a nascent science - most of today’s diseases were yet ...

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STAT_Logo Home delivery for everything from fresh produce to custom-selected clothing has become a way of life for many Americans. While most home-delivery conveniences are generally changing our lives for the better — giving us more time and choices — at-home genetics kits that reveal information about the risk of developing certain cancers represent a risky step in ...

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The approval by the Food and Drug Administration of 23andMe’s BRCA test is bound to create a discussion about the merits and pitfalls of direct to consumer genetic testing for cancer risk. It is also going to add fuel to a growing fire about how we as a nation assess genetic risks for cancer, and whether society is prepared for what is inevitably going to become a ...

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Technological advancement often outpaces society’s ability to understand how to use new advances. Direct-to-consumer genetic testing (DTC-GT) is one such technology whose true power far exceeds our collective mental bandwidth to comprehend. Home testing kits have come into mainstream culture over a short period of time. In 2010, the direct to consumer testing market was valued at $15 million. It grew almost nine times to $130 million in just five years ...

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