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18 April 2011

Parents embrace predictive genetic testing if offered

Parents offered genetic testing to predict their risks of common, adult-onset health conditions say they would also test their children.

Parents offered genetic testing to predict their risks of common, adult-onset health conditions say they would also test their children. That is the finding of a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

The study authors note these and other findings should put paediatricians on alert that parents may chose predictive genetic tests for themselves and for their children, and seek guidance from doctors about what to do with the information.

"The findings of our study should remind clinicians and policy-makers to consider children when regulating genetic tests," says Tercyak, the study's lead author.

"These tests usually don't offer a clean bill of health and can be hard to interpret even in the best scenario. They identify incremental risks for many common diseases. Most people carry some risk based on a combination of their family history, genetics, and lifestyle. A child's unexpected test results could trigger negative reactions among parents and children, and lead to conversations at the paediatrician's office that providers aren't prepared to have."

 
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