Saturday, October 20, 2007

Take an Antibiotic, Lose your hearing

Before I jump into the headlines I want to make mention of a few things. First, you know that there is something to these warnings I give about DTC testing when "in the Oct. 19 issue of Science, Bolnick and 13 researchers from universities across the nation call upon the scientific community to better educate the public about the limitations of the tests, and urge consumers to approach the tests with caution."

But here's the kicker. This Article.....It has nothing to do with disease testing. The buyer beware editorial is entitled "The Science and Business of Genetic Ancestry Testing"

Did you know that close to half a million people have taken ancestry testing. With 23 and Me lauching soon, I am certain that number will double in a year.

The problems with these tests are the same that come about with disease testing. Including false positives and negatives as well as limited database information to compare your alleles to.
Sounds like the VUS problem all over again.

So why lead with the pharmacogenomic title and only mention it now? Because I am not certain this test is ready for prime time. Although, there are thousands of babies getting aminoglycosides for a condition called rule out sepsis. This occurs when your baby develops a fever during the first 2 months of life. What can happen when the baby gets gentamicin? Well, in children with this change it can cause deafness. The authors in this article "Ototoxicity caused by aminoglycosides" The authors argue the merits of pharmacogenomic testing.

The most common predisposing mutation is now known as m.1555A>G, a mitochondrial DNA mutation has been well studied in China. Researchers attribute at least 33-59% of aminoglycoside ototoxicity to this change, according to studies from China.

That being said mitochondrial DNA is not always inherited to a disease causing level. In addition the authors point out the other problems"Genetic testing needs to be turned around rapidly, and consideration should be given to using an alternative antibiotic until the result of genetic testing is known."

The Sherpa Says: Well, no surprise. If there are charlatans in the medical genetic testing world where we are regulated, then imagine how ripe the field of ancestral testing is (Especially, given the lack of regulation). Let the buyer beware.....and hold the gentamicin please. Oh, and I am sick of watching the Myriad ad during Regis and Kelly!

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