Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What's in Steve Jobs's Genome? Genetic Information at the Top

Jacob Goldstein of The Wall Street Journal's Health Blog asks "Do Apple Investors Have Right to Steve Jobs's Health Info?" -- Investing is a gamble and gamblers need good information to make the best bets. Publicly traded companies are required (with varied levels of success) by the SEC to be transparent with their books. So, if you're thinking about investing in a company with a very charismatic CEO, you might want to know about the results of his most recent physical exam. As genomic medicine improves one could imagine a future in which "reasonable" investors demand a genome profile too. Goldstein observes that Jobs is both a "swashbuckling entrepreneur" and a pancreatic cancer survivor. I'm unsure how that information would help an investor and I'm fairly certain the science of reading the genomic tea leaves would not be much help, at least not yet.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

IndyStar - Do you want to know? Direct-to- consumer DNA tests ...

PredictER's Kimberly Quaid and Indiana University Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics' Dr. Gail Vance comment on direct-to-consumer genetic testing in today's issue of The Indianapolis Star. Quaid notes:

"For a lot of genetic conditions, there is not much we can actually do to change them. So, what are people getting out of the tests?" … While legitimate genetic tests exist, such as one to detect the BRAC mutations for breast cancer, Quaid said, she doesn't see the sense in identifying risks for every disease. She also doubts the validity of tests used by some firms. … Traditionally, health-related genetic tests have been available only through health-care providers, who decide whether they are based on family history and symptoms, and who interpret results for patients. Quaid said that method better safeguards consumers.