Oct 14, 2009

Are Commercial Genetic Tests Worth Taking?

...droves of people are flocking to get genetic tests -- which are now marketed direct-to-consumer -- ranging from the $179 CaffeineGen to assess caffeine metabolism to those that claim to gauge risk for Alzheimer's disease. There's also a $79 HomeDNA Home Paternity Testing System that includes, for an additional $25, lab services for the "alleged" father and one child.

But whether or not the commercially available genetic tests currently entering the market actually provide any useful information is another question.

Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Editor note: It is my belief that the genetic tests being used for Alzheimer's disease are basically worthless. There is no real documented science underneath these test to show they are of value.

In addition, even if you were to find that you were predisposed to Alzheimer's there is not a great deal you could do about it.

What you would do are the same things I am suggesting in my current series -- Worried about Alzheimer's?

I am not a doctor or a scientist. However, I did work on the start up financing for Myriad Genetics. Myriad offers a genetic test that measures predisposition to breast cancer. The science underneath the development of this test was 1.5 million DNA samples, and a substantial amount of DNA sequencing. This test has real meaningful science behind the findings, and the test is offered by the company that did the science.

The purpose of the Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Study is to identify the genes that are responsible for causing Alzheimer's Disease (AD). One of the ways in which the risk factor genes for late onset AD can be investigated is by identifying and collecting genetic material from families with multiple members diagnosed with late onset AD (over 60 years of age).

To read my article on this topic go here -- Alzheimer's Disease Genetics Study--Clinical Trial

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room