Monday, December 04, 2017

Scared of medical diagnostic tests

From the medical examiner column:
We Don’t Want to Know What Will Kill Us
Years of data on genetic testing reveal that when given the option, most people want less information, not more. ...

When, in 1996, French nun Mariannick Caniou found out she didn’t have Huntington’s disease, the lethal, degenerative genetic disorder, she fell into a depression. Throughout her life, she had been convinced that she would develop the illness that had killed her mother and grandmother. So convinced, in fact, that all her most important decisions had been based on that conviction: her decision not to marry, for example, or not to have children. ...

In those preparatory surveys, roughly 70 percent of those at risk of Huntington’s said they would take a test if it existed. In fact, only around 15 percent do — a proportion that has proved stable across countries and decades. A similar pattern emerged when tests became available for other incurable brain diseases, including rare familial forms of Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia: The vast majority of people prefer not to know.

There is a certain logic to this. Why know if there’s nothing you can do about it?
I think that she is misreading these studies. Huntington's is incurable, but obviously Caniou's (faulty) knowledge did influence her decisions. There were things that she could do about the Huntington's info.

I have posted examples of genetics experts who refuse to get their genes sequenced. Sometimes they complain that the tests are too unreliable, and sometimes that they are too reliable.

A lot of ppl are also afraid to take an IQ test. Some sort of phobia is at work here.

While some ppl have these problems, I refuse to believe that it is a majority. Most ppl have no problem with other diagnostics, like cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes tests. These are pushed by physicians who want to prescribe drugs for treatment, but the drugs don't really cure the problems.

No comments: