Counseling key part of genetic testing

Updated 8/6/2014 1:57 PM

As a longtime resident of Arlington Heights and an equally longtime Daily Herald subscriber, I've always enjoyed Anna Marie Kukec's business column. However, the Aug. 4 article on Dr. Burggraf ("Geneva optometrist focuses on new technology") gave me pause and unnerved me quit a bit.

The entire area of genetic testing is exploding, and everyone is grappling with the implications and consequences of it. Those ordering or offering the genetic wellness tests or suggesting they should be done -- especially if they're perceived as a knowledgeable health care professional and not just a laboratory performing the test -- must be prepared to counsel the individuals who choose to be tested. This requires knowledge and understanding of the disease process being genetically tested for.

Yes, the person who tests "positive" for Alzheimer's has a right to know, but at the present time all that person can do is get his or her affairs in order. What about the accuracy of the test? What about false positives and negatives?

I only hope that Dr. Burggraf has the ability and wherewithal to counsel patients concerning Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes, and about the vagaries inherent in all lab testing -- especially very new tests.

George S. Motto, M.D.

Arlington Heights

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