Tuesday, December 31, 2013

As I Was Saying about Home Genetic Testing

Before you spend any money on genetic testing, read Kira Peikoff's story:
23andMe said my most elevated risks — about double the average for women of European ethnicity — were for psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, with my lifetime odds of getting the diseases at 20.2 percent and 8.2 percent. But according to Genetic Testing Laboratories, my lowest risks were for — you guessed it — psoriasis (2 percent) and rheumatoid arthritis (2.6 percent).

For coronary heart disease, 23andMe and G.T.L. agreed that I had a close-to-average risk, at 26 to 29 percent, but Pathway listed my odds as “above average.”

In the case of Type 2 diabetes, inconsistencies on a semantic level masked similarities in the numbers. G.T.L. said my risk was “medium” at 10.3 percent, but 23andMe said my risk was “decreased” at 15.7 percent. In fact, both companies had calculated my odds to be roughly three-quarters of the average, but they used slightly different averages — and very different words — to interpret the numbers. In isolation, the first would have left me worried; the second, relieved.
As the FDA kept insisting about 23andMe, none of these companies can present any evidence showing that their tests are accurate or meaningful.

1 comment:

pootrsox said...

There was a series in the Rappahannock Record, which is my local paper, about a woman who used 23andme to determine her parentage-- because she was convinced her parenting father was not her biological father.

Tests indicated she was right.

So there is a place for cheap OTC-variety DNA testing: geneology.

I quite agree that it's pointless and possibly dangerous to rely on them for health analyses.