There is no evidence that genetic testing change the behavior of people

Mar 15, 2016 | | Say something

There is no evidence that genetic testing change the behavior of people ;


Genetic tests that provide an estimate of an individual’s risk of developing diseases such as lung cancer and heart disease do not appear to motivate behavior change to reduce the risk, according to a study conducted by the University of Cambridge and published in the BMJ today.

Researchers at the Research Unit Behavior and Health analyzed a number of studies examining whether the test of an individual’s DNA for genetic variants that increased their risk to develop the “complex common diseases’ influenced their health -related behavior. complex diseases are those such as heart disease , most cancers and diabetes, where no single gene causes the disease , but it is the interaction of tens, possibly hundreds of genes, along with a

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environment and individual behavior that leads to disease.

Genome Sequencing reading all of an individual DNA has opened the possibility of providing people with information on whether or not carriers of genes known to increase the risk of disease. Such tests are controversial, knowing that an individual carries these variants does not mean that the person will develop the disease; However, the authors argue that if a person knows that he or she is at increased risk of a particular disease, they can make an informed decision about whether or not to change their behavior.

In the 2000s, several companies launched direct consumer testing for a number of common complex disorders, and these tests are still sold in Canada, the UK and other European countries. In 2013 in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration ordered the 23andMe company to stop selling its test kits because of concerns about its accuracy and usefulness, but in October 2015, the company resumed the sale of some services health related.

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Cambridge researchers examined more than 10,000 summaries of relevant studies and identified from these 18 studies that match their criteria for inclusion in the analysis. When collecting data, they found that inform people of their genetic risk had little or no effect on their health-related behavior, including smoking cessation and physical activity.

Professor Theresa Marteau, who led the study, says: “Expectations have been high that give people information about their genetic risk will empower them to change their behavior – eating healthier or to quit smoking, for example – .. but we have found no evidence that this is the case, but no evidence supporting concerns that such information could discourage and dissuade people to change their behavior “

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However, researchers acknowledge that DNA tests can still play a role in improving the health of people. “DNA tests, alone or in combination with other risk assessments of disease can help doctors identify individuals at higher risk and to target interventions such as screening tests, surgery and treatments drugs, “explains co-author Dr. Gareth Hollands.

The team argue that these results are consistent with other evidence that risk communication usually has at most a small effect on health behavior .

This article was originally published on medicalxpress, Read the original article


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