In The Field

ASHG 2009: Personal genomics fears overblown?

One of the major themes of this meeting is personalized medicine – the promise that some day, doctors will be able to tailor treatments for all of us based on our genetic makeup. Scientists and researchers are excited about the future prospects of personalized medicine, but there are also huge questions about how useful it will really be. Social scientists are wondering: can patients can handle genetic information? Will they overreact upon learning they have some small increase in risk for a disease? Or will the information wash over them like the myriad public service announcements exhorting us to eat right and get more exercise – messages that, apparently, most of us have learned to ignore? 


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