Support the news

As Genetic Information Floods Medicine, What Role Will Genetic Counselors Play?08:21

This article is more than 4 years old.

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 segment aired on January 5, 2015.

+Join the discussion

Support the news