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Ohio State Genetics Expert Cautions About Direct-to-Consumer Tests

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Posted: 2/9/2012

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Amy Sturm, assistant professor of clinical internal medicine in the division of human genetics and certified genetic counselor at The Ohio State University Medical Center and Ohio State’s Center for Personalized Health Care, says personal genomic testing doesn’t give a complete picture of a person’s disease risk. Her case study has been published in the Journal of Genetic Counseling.
Appearing in a special issue devoted to direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing, “Direct-to-Consumer Personal Genomic Testing: A Case Study and Practical Recommendations for “Genomic Counseling,”” is available online ahead of the April 2, 2012 print edition of the official journal of the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC).
Sturm and her colleague Dr. Kandamurugu Manickam, a geneticist at Ohio State Medical Center and a member of its Center for Personalized Health Care, present a case study of a genomic counseling session with results atypical to assumptions of early adopters of DTC genetic testing.  A major limitation of DTC testing is the incomplete view it gives consumers of their lifetime risks for common, complex diseases, as the vast majority of tests analyze only one or two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and do not examine medical or family histories necessary for risk assessment, according to Sturm.
“Based on our experience, we developed practical recommendations for genomic counseling including novel approaches to case preparation, utilization of technology during counseling sessions, and a major focus on genomics education. The knowledge regarding genomic testing we provide to our patients is crucial to their complete understanding and interpretation of results,” Sturm adds.
Sturm received NSGC’s 2011 Outstanding Volunteer Award in recognition for leadership, dedication and significant contributions to the organization. NSGC promotes professional interests of genetic counselors and provides networking and continuing education opportunities related to human genetics.
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Click here for a high-resolution photograph of Amy Sturm.
Contact: Sherri Kirk, Center for Personalized Health Care Public Relations, 614.366.3277, or Sherri.Kirk@osumc.edu
Center for Personalized Medicine; Preventive; Predictive; Personalized; Participatory