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Another Source of Data for 23andMe

23andMe has rolled out a health hub where its customers can share information about their management of 18 common health conditions, according to Wired.

Unlike the reports that the company is most known for, the hub doesn't provide information on the likelihood that a person's genes will result in them having, for example, depression or allergies. Rather, the conditions and how they are being treated are self-reported by 23andMe's customers.

Customers using the hub get to see what treatment or management strategy seems to work for others. For 23andMe, it's another source of valuable data that it didn't have before.

Despite a disclaimer from the company that the content in the hub is not based on customers' genetics and "may not be representative of the general population or of you as an individual," some say 23andMe may be misleading users about the nature of the content.

"…this model brings up some real interpretation concerns," says Kayte Spector-Bagdady, a bioethicist at the University of Michigan and a former associate director of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.

For her, asking people what treatments they used and which one they found to be effective is not the same as a comparative effectiveness trial, but the way it's presented on 23andMe's health hub seems to suggest it is.

"It"s hard for any individual consumer to understand what this information means for them," she says.

Wired notes that there are other sites where consumers can evaluate how different treatments compare to each other. But, one 23andMe executive said, the company's closed platform makes its customers feel safe, and 80 percent of the customers consent to participate in 23andMe's research.

The company has DNA data that it can use for precision medicine reports but regulations in the US make reporting them to customers a tricky proposition. 23andMe has no immediate plans to turn the health hub data into genetic reports, either.