As Genetic Information Floods Medicine, What Role Will Genetic Counselors Play?

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Thanks to advances in genetic testing, it's now easier and cheaper than ever before to figure out your risk of developing some diseases — like cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's.

But getting the results can often come at an emotional cost. It raises questions like, what can you do — and what should you do — if you find out that you might develop Alzheimer's years down the road?

A genetic counselor can help with those questions — someone who can explain what the genetic tests actually mean.

But, according to a recent study from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, when looking at the risk of developing diseases like Alzheimer's, an intensive session with a genetic counselor might not always be necessary and a much simpler process could work just as well.


Carey Goldberg, co-host of WBUR's CommonHealth blog. She tweets @commonhealth.

Dr. Robert Green, physician-scientist in the division of genetics and the department of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.


The Boston Globe: Oversold Prenatal Tests Spur Some To Choose Abortions

  • "Sparked by the sequencing of the human genome a decade ago, a new generation of prenatal screening tests, including MaterniT21, has exploded onto the market in the past three years."

This article was originally published on January 05, 2015.

This segment aired on January 5, 2015.


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