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American Heart Association recommends oversight on genetic testing

A set of genetic-testing policy recommendations published today by the American Heart Association in the journal Circulation suggests the need for safeguards to protect patients from possible misuse of these technologies.

Stanford cardiologist Euan Ashley, MD, chaired the policy statement writing group, which included a panel of medical professionals working over a two-year period. According to a Stanford release, report recommendations include "federal oversight of genetic testing, a prohibition against awarding new patents for gene discovery and stronger rules to protect against discrimination based on a person’s genetic profile."

Calling patent safeguards "essential for patients in a new age of medicine," Ashley also comments in the release on the importance of providing health-care professionals with training in genetics and genomics:

Anyone can spit in a cup and get a genetic test result in the mail, but most medical professionals wouldn’t know what to do with the results. We believe these new technologies could really transform how we practice medicine, and as health-care professionals we need to be prepared.

Previously: NIH launches online tool providing information about the availability and scientific basis of genetic tests, What personal DNA testing can reveal about your potential health and future well-being and A conversation about the benefits and limitations of direct-to-consumer genetic tests and Stanford legal expert discusses promise and pitfalls of genetic testing

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