Appetite for Information

There is such a hunger to know, that when Ohio State University put up a Self-Administered Gerocognitive Exam –a test that can be done in your own home with a paper and pencil – on its website, the site crashed when thousands of people tried to access it. (CBC News story here.)

In a post from a reader on, the reader wrote: "I would like more resources directed specifically toward genetics. We have traced several generations in my husband's family and now he is showing many signs at age 52. As a wife, I am facing many difficult challenges. The blue collar, hard-working man I married is slowly becoming resentful toward me when he has any difficulties or confusion. ... To be honest, it is making me crazy."

Still, the jury is out on whether the tests are of real use in determing potential for getting Alzheimer's disease. In another feature, genetic counselor Laura Hercher said, 23andMe is strong on science. "But ... take an example like diabetes. They say you have this and this genetic variant, and therefore your risk of diabetes is increased 10% over the general population.”

And then the zinger: "a 10% risk over the general population is useless," Hercher pointed out.

Factors such as lifestyle, diet, exercise, and weight play a much higher relative role.

Nevertheless, U.K. approves sales of 23andMe genetic test banned in U.S. NEXT

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Susan Grimbly

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