Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thoughts on genetic testing

There are all sorts of genetic testing coming available to the average consumer. There were the ones Walgreens was going to sell that would tell you if you were going to get some diseases. There is the BRCA test to tell if you are a high risk for breast or ovarian cancer. Then there is a new one that will tell you if your child has the potential to be a star athlete. Wait a minute. Why would you care if your child might be a star athlete?

Um, doesn't it matter if your child doesn't want to be an athlete or if they are genetically disinclined to be an good athlete but want to try out for a major league baseball team? This new test made me think of the communist Russian way of taking children with potential away from their families so they could spend their childhood prepping for the Olympics and other international sports awards to bring glory to their country...

This whole genetic testing thing makes me think of Big Brother... The question still is do we want to know about these things? Or are we better off not knowing? And still even what about people who get this information on other people and use it? The laws need to protect people and their genetic information before it can be made available easily and publicly.

Insurance companies should not have access to the results of genetic tests - just as with any other medical test. They should cover the test if they are needed but not have any knowledge of the results. A child who is going to be active and end up a star athlete might have more sports injuries than another non-athletic child and insurance companies should not be able to discriminate there either. But should insurance companies be required to pay for genetic testing that people want to know about themselves but not related to any medical treatment? BRCA testing yes, sports abilities no, potentially proclivity to diseases maybe.

Okay, enough for today. I have to get my butt out of bed and finish up some work and stop by the post office on my way to my other job. Then I have errands to run and am meeting friends for dinner. Walter is on his own for dinner but there are left overs from last night - a giant casserole of the vegetables left in the fridge (leeks, onions, peppers, asparagus, spinach, etc) over pasta with some sauce and a little cheese. I have some for lunch today as well.

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