One of the interesting things about the 23andMe results is that you get to know more about the likeliness of suffering from various diseases. Due to this, I always wondered what would happen if you share this data with your physician. Will it help the physician make a life-saving decision?
I did share my results with the physician, to see if he would find this data useful. I armed myself with the iPad when I was going to pay a visit to my physician. To be honest, he was extremely interested to know more about 23andMe. He had gone for a conference which wanted to bring doctors up-to-date with patients and the Internet.
After allowing him to go through my profile, I showed him one result, which was about autoimmune diseases. Even though I was more likely to contract one autoimmune disease, he said I didn’t have to worry, as it was extremely rare. Although it didn’t alter his thinking, I would like to say that it was quite helpful for me to understand all the information about my DNA. From my perspective, physicians need education about genomics, so that they can use the results from these tests.
I also know about a close friend, who wanted to share his 23andMe results with his physician. Before going to the doctor, he was under the assumption that the physician will consider the data as information you get from a fortune teller. According to my friend’s test results, he had a high chance of getting glaucoma. When he told the ophthalmologist about the result, she asked him to take a test for glaucoma, once in two years.
After deciding to take the test, his father informed him that he and his grandfather also suffered from glaucoma. When he shared this information with his optometrist, she told him that he should come every year.
I also came across several stories on the Internet, which are quite different from my friend’s experience. For instance, when one person shared his 23andMe results, his doctor told him that he doesn’t trust this information. The individual asked another doctor, who was his friend, and he gave a similar answer. According to his friend, doctors will already get to know about a condition, by conducting a blood test.
Another individual claim that 23andMe is a disruptor, which is why doctors are not keen on their results, as it can replace some of their jobs.
There was a story about an individual who told her dermatologist that she was going to take the 23andMe test. As she had a history of melanoma, the dermatologist was interested in her results. However, the doctor didn’t know what to do with this information, as it was new to her.
There is a lot of potential in these results, as doctors can know more about diseases, nutrition, cardiology, and dermatology to name a few. I believe several doctors don’t know what to do with this type of information.