University Of Iowa Health Expert Discusses Risks of Popular Holiday Gift
At-home DNA testing kits have become all the rage in recent years as popular and relatively inexpensive holiday gifts, anywhere from $100-$200. It's fun to learn about your ancestry and maybe even discover some relational connection to a celebrity or major historical figure. But a University of Iowa health care expert says beware because these test kits often reveal more than what the user bargained for. What you think of as a meaningful and unique gift certainly can be but...
Be careful what you wish for
UIHC genetic counselor Athena Puski says that, in addition to the above-mentioned factors people might be curious about, the test kits can reveal jarring genetic health care information. Even if that's part of what you are actually looking for, there can be unwelcomed surprises. They often reveal your disposition for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, even Alzheimer's, and other conditions and diseases you weren't aware were part of your family genetics. This can be scary but crucial life-saving information. She even points out caveats like the tests revealing "surprise" family members, a surprise that may not always be pleasant or welcomed. Certainly, Puski says, don't take the health information side of it as gospel and above all, discuss it all with a medical provider.
The tests are good for fun, harmless information
Some tests have a "traits" feature that can unveil fascinating details like affirming a person’s fear of heights, ability to carry a tune or your favorite ice cream flavor. But the bottom line is if you spring for the serious stuff for twice the price, don't say we and the medical experts at UIHC didn't warn you.