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Preparing Students to Navigate Genetic Risks

A new training program at Beth Israel Deaconness aims to teach medical students about genetics through fairly nontraditional means: Ask medical students to get their own genetic tests. The hope is that by ushering medical students through the testing process, they will have some personal experience in trying to navigate the uncertainty of genetic testing that will help them treat patients more effectively.

23AndMe's "Research Revolution"

A couple months ago, I noted that 23andMe initiated its first self-organized trial for Parkinson's Disease where the patients themselves have paid much of the cost of enrolling in trials and have invested time into filling out questionnaires and tracking symptoms. Last week, the company announced plans to expand those efforts to 10 additional conditions by offering a $99 DNA test kit to individuals who will participate in the company's research.

More Direct To Consumer Genetics

Via GenomeWeb, it looks like another company has joined the growing list of startups selling direct-to-consumer genetics tests. Pathway Genomics launched this week and is offering partial sequencing to help individuals understand their disease risks, ancestry or both--with the most expensive test costing $348.

23 and Mommy

23andMe has launched an online community for Mommy bloggers that, by all indications, will give soon-to-be and current moms a place to discuss parenthood, pregnancy and, not surprisingly, genetics. The community site features some standards of a social networking site--profiles, discussion threads--along with some tools for measuring health status and wellness during pregnancy. On their blog, 23andMe's founders say that:

Predicting your future health

Not sure how new a story this is, but I have only recently come across it.  With the tag line of "Know, Act, Achieve," Entelos' MyDigitalHealth promises to predict what one's health will look like in the future. The company offers to synthesize your health history, current health, and lifestyle to generate a simulation of your future health.  Then you can see how changing your lifestyle today might change that picture over time.  

Hospital Becomes First in Country to Use Genetics to Customize Cancer Treatments

Massachusetts General Hospital is planning to use genetic testing to personalize its treatment for all of its cancer patients within the year, apparently making it the first hospital in the country to use genetic testing as a standard part of cancer treatment.

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