Hong Long: Medical experts warned consumers in comments published on Wednesday to be cautious about genetic tests that purport to predict various diseases, saying they added little value beyond what consumers already knew.Risk factors like smoking, lack of exercise, age, hypertension and family history were usually more reliable predictors, said researchers in Australia, who published their comment in a paper in PLoS Medicine."Studies done for diabetes, heart disease and common cancers have identified a large number of genes associated with increased risk of developing (these diseases)," said lead author Wayne Hall, a professor at the University of Queensland Center for Clinical Research.
"I wouldn`t purchase any of these tests myself. They have very limited use and if I have reason to suspect I have some gene that is strongly predictive of disease risk, I will go through a proper genetic testing curriculum because there is very little value in these genome-wide scans that are being marketed," Hall said.Hall was making a distinction between facilities with trained clinical geneticists who can interpret and give advice and counseling before and after a result is known, and companies which merely hand over the result.Bureau Report
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