Introduction to Genetic TestingThis video reviews some of the most common types of genetic tests. These include chromosome analysis (which has the least amount of detail), microarray analysis (which has more detail), and gene sequencing (which provides the most detail on specific genes).
Introduction to Secondary FindingsSecondary Findings are sometimes identified during genetic testing. They are called "secondary" findings because they may be unrelated to why genetic testing was originally done, but can still be important your health. This might be similar to when you take your car for an oil change, but the mechanic finds something else of concern, such as faulty brakes. Secondary findings include risk of developing certain types of cancer, heart problems, or whether some medications can have serious side-effects.
Pros and Cons of Secondary FindingsPros of choosing to learn secondary findings include learning about risk for a genetic condition, which can help manage your health. You can also share results with family members, who can also take steps to improve their heath. Cons can include increased worry, or guilt and discomfort sharing results with your family. You may also worry that your genetic results may affect your health insurance or job. Although a federal law protects against this type of discrimination, it does not protect new life insurance or disability insurance.
Maureen Smith, a researcher at Northwestern University, explains that patients who receive results of genetic tests are often offered genetic counseling, Genetic counseling looks at your family history, and aims to help patients understand their risk of developing certain disorders, genetic tests, and test results. Counseling may be provided by a doctor, or a genetic counselor who will have specialized knowledge of genetics and healthcare.
Dr. Dan Roden discusses the issues related to sharing genetic information with family members. Genetic test results that you may receive may have an impact on your family members, as they share much of your DNA. This involves making personal decisions that can be extremely complicated. Similarly, when genetic testing is done on large groups of individuals, this may have important implications for society as a whole.
Dr. Ingrid Holm, a researcher at Boston Children's Hospital, explains that, by law, health insurance companies cannot discriminate against you based on your genetic test results. However, the same law does not apply to life insurance and disability insurance.