In an interview published in the online version of Germany’s well-known weekly news magazine Der Spiegel, the medical ethicist and philosopher Prof. Urban Wiesing describes the concern of German scientists’ about some companies that offer analysis of private genome data via the internet.
As today’s gene diagnostics provide in most cases only information about increasing or decreasing risk of developing multifactorial diseases like lung cancer, diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease, he states that these results are in most cases only of limited informative value. Body weight, eating habits as well as physical activities often do tell much more about the risk of developing e.g. diabetes type II.
Nevertheless Prof. Wiesing thinks that such tests will be worth consideration once the predictive value gets better in the future. Today he compares the informational value of such tests with an oracle.
The researchers are most worried about the fact that customers of such companies receive critical results without any face to face consultancy from medical experts. They share our opinion that it is absolutely necessary to explain these complex results and the implications they MAY have for the life of the patients (and their families) in an appropriate way. It is not without reason that such internet companies are forbidden in Germany.
What is your opinion? Would you like to know that e.g. your risk for developing diabetes type II is 30% higher than on average? Do you think you really would change your lifestyle in that case?