Direct-to-consumer genetic testing customers and gift-receivers might want to consider what they may learn before they send in samples for analysis, NJ.com reports. It adds that genetic testing kits — some of which can tell customers their APOE4 status, which is linked to an increased risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease — have been included on numerous gift-buying guides this holiday season.
The Alzheimer's Foundation of America wants customers to consider the pros and cons of testing, particularly when it comes to learning their Alzheimer's disease risk, NJ.com says. In an editorial in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease this fall, the AFA's Lori Frank and her colleagues say genetic testing should have three goals: to ensure people understand their results mean, to limit negative consequences, and to help reduce disease risk.
Indiana University School of Medicine's Malia Rambaugh tells NJ.com that when she, as a genetic counselor, speaks with patients, she tried to understand what they would do with the information they learn: would it make them fatalistic or spur them to action?
"Knowledge is good; knowledge is power," Rambaugh tells NJ.com. "But sometimes you have to ask, 'Is this knowledge going to benefit me?'"