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Boston Children's Hospital

What is a Genetic Counselor?

Dr. Ingrid Holm explains that a genetic counselor is someone who has a Masters Degree in genetic counseling, who is trained in the fundamentals of genetic science, and also how to discuss genetic diseases with individuals and families. Genetic test results are often returned by genetic counselors.
Misconceptions and Genetic Testing - Risk and Discrimination

Dr. Ingrid Holm discusses certain misconceptions that people may have in regard to genetic testing. For example, people may wrongly think that health insurance companies can discriminate against them based on their results (this is illegal). Similarly, people may think that because they may not have a genetic risk for developing a disease, they will definitely not develop that disease.
What Does 'Pharmacogenomics' Mean?

Dr. Ingrid Holm explains that pharmacogenomics uses information about genetics to tailor drugs to different individuals. Some people may metabolize certain drugs particularly quickly, while others may be slow metabolizers. Genetic testing may help us predict drug response and therefore improve treatment.

Do Genetic Test Results Affect My Health Insurance Coverage?

Dr. Ingrid Holm 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.
Should I Discuss Genetic Test Results With My Doctor?

Dr. Ingrid Holm recommends that you should discuss genetic test results with your doctor, because he or she may be able to recommend treatments based on your genetic background. Similarly, your doctor may be able to use this information to recommend certain preventative measures to decrease risk of developing disease.
Codeine: Does Everyone Respond in the Same Way?

Dr. Ingrid Holm explains that everybody may not respond in the same way to taking codeine - some people may metabolize the drug quickly and some people may be slow metabolizers.
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