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Jack Sisson's Life Ethics Blog

We must find new ways through many ethical issues, especially regarding bioethics, medical ethics, and criminal justice. Jack Sisson's 'Life Ethics' blog focuses on numerous areas of concern, including the philosophical and ethical dilemmas surrounding stem-cell research, abortion, medical research, and health care.

From Time Magazine: With the advent of new genetic tests, it's increasingly easy to gauge whether you're predisposed to developing certain conditions — diabetes, say, or breast cancer. For adults, that knowledge can be simultaneously overwhelming and empowering. For children, the ramifications of such predictions are especially controversial, which is why professional groups — the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), in particular — have come out against genetic testing of children for adult-onset diseases.

Yet a new study published today in the AAP-affiliated journal Pediatrics finds that parents who were offered the option of genetic testing for themselves said they would also like to test their children. The 219 parents surveyed indicated they believe that the risks of testing their children for eight adult-onset conditions — colon, skin and lung cancer; heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis — outweigh the benefits.


“We told parents in the study that there are no known health benefits to these tests because we were trying to almost discourage these tests,” says McBride.

The study is part of a larger look at the public's attitudes toward genetic testing by the NHGRI, a division of the National Institutes of Health. Although no kids were actually tested as part of the study, researchers are concerned that less-than-perfect test results in the real world could spark negative emotions among parents and children.

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