You’re a big girl now

The LA Times has a “Point-Counterpoint” on direct-to-consumer genetic tests, where I am cast as Shana Alexander. Or perhaps, Jane the Ignorant Slut. In any event, you know the drill:

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with giving somebody a peek at the science offered by direct-to-consumer genetic testing, even if it’s tentative and might change tomorrow. We are confronted with uncertain medical information all the time — for instance, the benefits and risks of mammograms, red wine or vitamin D. I think people understand this more than we give them credit for.

The problem with these sorts of he said/he said “debates” is that they usually allow no room for nuance. The larger point I am trying to make is that, if done right, consumer genomics–just like academic genomics–can be an opportunity to begin to address genetic exceptionalism and our shoddy history in understanding and assimilating genetic information. This is exactly why I wish that DTC companies could 1) get their act together and agree on a transparent set of standards and 2) share spit kits and genetics education materials with, say, low-income people and community colleges rather than focusing more of their attention on concierge docs, executive health participants and other well-heeled folks.

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3 Responses to You’re a big girl now

  1. Silly Misha,
    People that are poor do not earn VC their 8x desired return. Come on now….

  2. David Kroll says:

    Misha, I don’t think that you actually came off sounding bad at all. Having high cholesterol and being obese doesn’t seem to change behavior in the vast majority of people who know exactly what those risks are.

    But I do wish that Bruce Korf did say, “Misha, you ignorant slut,” and then fire up the Super Bass-O-Matic ’76.

    And in all seriousness, this is gold right here:

    This is exactly why I wish that DTC companies could 1) get their act together and agree on a transparent set of standards and 2) share spit kits and genetics education materials with, say, low-income people and community colleges rather than focusing more of their attention on concierge docs, executive health participants and other well-heeled folks.

    Thanks for offering your expertise out there in the lay press. You’re a good man, doc.

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