Genetic tests marketed directly to consumers provide conflicting and misleading information that is “of no practical use” according to a new report from the General Accounting Office.
In their investigation, the GAO purchased the tests, costing from $299 to $999 each, from four different companies. The same donors submitted two DNA samples to all four companies — one with real and one with fictitious medical information.
Information received from testing was contradictory and didn’t jibe with donors’ real medical conditions.
One man was told that he had below-average, average, and above average risk for hypertension and prostate cancer. One donor who already had colon cancer was told he was at “average risk” for the disease.
Another donor, who had a heart pacemaker, got a result that said he had a decreased risk for the condition that was being treated with the pacemaker.
The GAO found that advertising for the tests was deceptive and that testing was often used as a basis to sell expensive nutritional supplements. Read the rest of this entry »