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January 30, 2010

For $349, Test Your DNA for 100+ Hereditary Diseases

Image from Wikipedia
A company called Counsyl claims to be able to test an individual's DNA and determine the risk of passing on over 100 hereditary diseases to future offspring for $349 (or free with insurance). Such hereditary diseases they are able to test for include the commonly known cystic fibrosis to more rare conditions like Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome. The full list can be viewed here.

Though many of the diseases listed are associated with ear, nose, throat problems, the list unfortunately does not include hereditary hearing loss conditions.

To do the testing, all you need to do is get the kit mailed to your home, spit into their test tube, and send the kit back to the company.

Read more about this in the New York Times here.

Though this all sounds great, there are some potentially unforeseen implications one needs to consider prior to obtaining this test beyond the issues the NYT article brought up. If the testing comes back positive, one runs the risk of:

1) Having your health insurance dropped or premiums increased... not just for you, but for your offspring (pre-existing condition)
2) Businesses may not want to hire you as you would "cost" them more (missed days from work due to illness, etc)

Though insurance may cover the testing... not sure if you actually want the insurance company to pay and have them potentially find out the results, especially if positive.
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids. Google+ Christopher Chang, MD Bio

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