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Geneticists’ opposition to direct-to-consumer genetic tests

UK registered charity PHG Foundation (associated with the Public Health Genetics Unit) is advocating against direct-to-consumer genetic tests.  They argue that genetic tests require the involvement of medical professionals to ensure that individuals understand and can act based on the true risks identified by the results.  Read the PHG article here:  http://www.phgfoundation.org/news/8708/

What the article doesn’t discuss is the counselling process which is so important during the ENTIRE process – prior to making the decision to test, while waiting for results, upon receipt of the results, and afterwards.  In the case of Huntington disease, there are many emotional and practical (career, financial, insurance) considerations.  Complicating these issues, one individual’s test can impact many other members of the family.

The Huntington Society of Canada has many publications online, including Genetic Testing and Personal Perspectives on Genetic Testing.

Testing involves education and counselling about
the implications of the test by someone with appropriate
expertise, such as a genetic counsellor or medical
geneticist. A neurological examination may also be
performed. Individuals with symptoms may discuss
testing with a neurologist. A person with depression,
changes in behaviour, or psychiatric illness should also
be seen by a psychologist or psychiatrist.

These publications are worth reading if you are considering genetic testing.