Consumers don’t need experts to interpret 23andMe genetic risk reports

first_imgFirst OpinionConsumers don’t need experts to interpret 23andMe genetic risk reports By Anne Wojcicki April 9, 2018 Reprints Privacy Policy Anne Wojcicki I disagree. While doctors and genetic counselors play an important role in delivering health care and health information, I am an advocate for consumers having more direct access to personalized information so they can take charge of their health. Making genetic testing affordable and accessible enables more people to learn important — and potentially lifesaving — information about themselves.advertisement @annewoj23 Related: Forty years ago, when the first at-home pregnancy tests became available, some physicians warned against their use. They thought women might not be able to handle such information on their own and claimed that the results might trigger them to make irrational decisions — some went so far as to claim it would lead to suicides. Looking back, it seems unthinkable that we questioned women’s ability to access this kind of information.My company, 23andMe, recently received FDA authorization for the first ever direct-to-consumer genetic test for an inherited risk for cancer. Specifically, it tests for variants in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes known to significantly increase chances of developing breast and ovarian cancer. Historically, access to this type of testing has been gated by insurance companies and couldn’t be obtained without an order from a physician or genetic counselor. Making this kind of test directly available to consumers is a huge milestone in empowering people to be in control of their own health information.I was disappointed to see that some of the initial reaction to this FDA authorization had a similar tone as the early reaction to at-home pregnancy tests. Some critics believe that people can’t handle this kind of information on their own, and that learning about a genetic cancer risk should be conveyed only by medical professionals.advertisement Newsletters Sign up for First Opinion A weekly digest of our opinion column, with insight from industry experts. Adobe We know from our research and the work of others that you don’t have to be an expert to handle genetic health risk information. People do not base rash or ill-informed decisions about their health on it. We also discovered through our research that a number of our customers who learned that they carry potentially harmful BRCA-related genetic variants never knew they were at risk for breast or ovarian cancer and would never have been tested for them through the traditional system. For some of these people, the information they got from a direct-to-consumer genetic test truly saved their lives.As part of the FDA authorization process, 23andMe had to demonstrate that we can deliver genetic risk information to customers in a way they understand. In rigorous studies submitted to the FDA for our previously authorized Genetic Health Risk Reports, which are similar to our BRCA1/BRCA2 report, we demonstrated user comprehension of 90 percent or greater.The BRCA1/BRCA2 report has limitations, and we worked hard to make sure that customers will be able to clearly understand those limitations. We clearly disclose that we do not test for all possible BRCA gene variants and that the test cannot diagnose breast or ovarian cancer. The report also makes it clear that many other factors outside of genetics influence one’s risk for cancer. At-home genetic testing may be convenient, but it isn’t complete Please enter a valid email address. Leave this field empty if you’re human: This 23andMe test looks at just three variants among the thousands of mutations that contribute to cancer risk. These variants are found mostly in people of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry. But they are the most well-studied BRCA risk variants, and having one of them — no matter one’s ethnicity — could mean an increase of 45 percent to 85 percent in the chance of developing breast or ovarian cancer by the age of 70. Several studies have shown that as many as 50 percent of people with one of these mutations wouldn’t qualify for breast or ovarian cancer screening under current medical guidelines. These people likely would not be prescribed a genetic test, and thus have no real options for learning this information if not for openly accessible consumer genetic testing.Now that the BRCA1/BRCA2 report is available, we know that among our existing customers, several thousand will learn they are carriers of one or more of the variants we test for. Without affordable and direct access to this critical information, many would never know they are at high risk for cancer.I applaud the FDA for recognizing that people want personalized health information about themselves, and that there are responsible ways for making that information accessible. As is the case for at-home pregnancy tests, I believe that years from now we’ll look back and wonder why we questioned that individuals would be able to understand and responsibly act on carefully delivered health information.Anne Wojcicki is the CEO and co-founder of 23andMe. Tags cancergeneticspatients About the Author Reprintslast_img read more

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Zimmer, Romano unveil new $358k Newark Street Plaza in Hoboken

first_img RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Previous articleHoboken adding more parking meters in hopes of gaining $1.3M in revenueNext articleIn wake of Orlando massacre, Fulop calls for ‘common sense gun reforms’ Jeannette Josue HobokenNews Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Zimmer, Romano unveil new $358k Newark Street Plaza in Hoboken Comments are closed. Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5), Council President Jen Giattino, other officials and local business owners unveiled the Newark Street Plaza at a ribbon cutting ceremony this morning. [fve]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhIlJRGLMMo[/fve]“This project is really about creating space for our community. As you can see we have a lot of Adirondack chairs and tables and as soon as we put these chair out residents were coming and sitting down and enjoying it. So it’s something that is a benefit to our residents, to our visitors and something that supports our local businesses,” Zimmer said.The plaza, located on Newark Street and Washington Street features widened sidewalk which accommodates more than 3,000 pedestrians at peak times, curb bump outs for pedestrian safety and the restoration of the historic Belgian block roadway.The plaza also includes street trees and bistro tables and chairs .U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) helped secure the majority of the funding through a $240,000 federal appropriation.The project also received a $118,000 grant from the NJ DOT through the Transportation Enhancement Program.Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise referred to the plaza as “a county road right in the heart of downtown Hoboken” in a statement. Crime 1 COMMENT News Ex-North Bergen DPW supervisor loses appeal to overturn corruption conviction center_img Police: 45-year-old man arrested for attempting to have sex with 15-year-old girl in Secaucus By Jeannette Josue – June 17, 2016 2:45 pm 1 Facebook Twitter June 18, 2016 8:05 am at 8:05 am QJ201 Bayonne man pepper sprayed, arrested after punching cop in the face, authorities say TAGSanthony romanoDawn Zimmernewark street plaza SHARE I really like it, but it’s gonna turn into a seating area for the tour busses stopping at Carlos. Bayonne last_img read more

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Teachers Visit a Bridge Everyday to Create a Classroom for Children of Migrant Workers Stuck in India’s Lockdown

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMoreFor months during the pandemic, the people of India woke up to news regarding the plight of migrant laborers.Stranded on their way home due to stringent lockdown restrictions and the lack of basic amenities brought us harrowing tales of human suffering.However, the news also spurred heroes into action. Under the bridge in the coastal state of Kerala, a heartening sight awaits those who are passing by in Kochi.Underneath the Bolgatty-Vallarpadam bridge, teachers can be found engrossed with students of all ages, deep in study.Ten children of migrant laborers had been living under the bridge with their families. Now that temporary ‘home’ is doubling up as a classroom, thanks to the dedicated teachers of St. John Bosco’s UP School.RELATED: No One Came to Student’s Graduation—So His Teacher Took Him Out to Dinner and Bought Him a CarWhen the government ordered schools to close, and classes began commencing online, the teachers realized that some children had no means to attend online classes, and would likely discontinue their education if the situation persisted.Armed with laptops and drawing sets, three teachers—Shamiya Baby, Neema Thomas and Susan Mable—and the school headmistress Elizabeth Fernandez, came to the rescue. Since the beginning of June, when online classes officially began, these teachers have been downloading classes on their laptops and heading over to the bridge to teach the children. ‘They also carry masks, biscuits and sweets for the young kids every day,” reports Mathrubhumi News.POPULAR: People Are Installing Portable Hand-Washing Sinks for the Homeless in Cities Across the USAs technology seeps into the education sector, stories like this serve to underscore the undeniable value of human teachers—and their selfless kindness… Priceless.We applaud our health workers and doctors, but let us also spare a thought for society’s teachers who help keep the lamp of hope brightly lit within the minds and hearts of its youngest citizens.– Edited from an original article submitted by Gayathry Rajeev in India TEACH People Some Kindness By Sharing This Story on Social Media…AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to EmailEmailEmailShare to RedditRedditRedditShare to MoreAddThisMorelast_img read more

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