Call 413.540.1234 to
schedule an appointment
CONCERN/EAP: 413.534.2625
Billing questions? Call: 413.540.1212
CRISIS: 413.733.6661

Health Policy & Advocacy
Resources
Basic InformationMore InformationLatest News
Report: Industry Hid Decades-Old Study Showing Sugar's Unhealthy EffectsMany Health Care Providers Work While SickMore Patients Are Having a Say in Their Medical CareFDA Seeks to Speed Development of 'Regenerated' Organs for Medical UseHealth Care Experts in Favor of Patient Contribution to NotesMillions Could Miss Out on a Potential Alzheimer's BreakthroughU.S. May Still Benefit From Climate AccordHealth Tip: Spread Awareness of the Opioid EpidemicKnowing Too Much About Your Genes Might Be RiskyHealth Tip: Participating in a Clinical TrialMusic, Video Help Sixth-Graders Master Hands-Only CPRIncreases in U.S. Health Spending Tied to Health Service PriceHealth Tip: Prevent Germs at the Doctor's OfficeInfo Via Social Media Apps May Increase Vaccine AcceptanceIt's 'Buyer Beware' When Purchasing Medical Pot Extract OnlineGetting Self-Driving Cars on the Road Soon Might Save LivesHealth Tip: Defining Health LiteracyDoctor Burnout: A Big Health Threat in U.S.About Half of Americans Get Health Care in ERPricing Interventions Increase Sales, Intake of Healthy FoodsHealth Tip: Get to Know Your PharmacistRobots May Be Cleaning Your Hospital Room SoonCMS Launches Initiative to Examine Impact of RegulationsPatients Prefer Face-to-Face Communication, No ComputerDrop Off Your Unused Meds Saturday on 'Take Back Day'Concerns Surround Use of Direct-to-Consumer Genetic TestingMost Patients Satisfied With Relationship With PhysicianModule Developed to Improve Adult Vaccination RatesA Drug Company's Gift Might Change How Your Doctor PrescribesAlmost 4 in 10 Tanning Salons Flout State LawsDEA Taking Back Unwanted Prescription Drugs on Oct. 28Most in U.S. Don't Agree That Household Guns Up Suicide RiskCan Gun Shows Trigger Gun Violence?Tighter Rules on Arsenic in Water Saved Lives: StudyHerbal and Dietary Supplements Are Commonly Mislabeled3 Million Americans Say They Carry Handguns Every DayMany Dermatology Guideline Authors Get Industry PaymentsDoctors Urged to Speak With Patients About FirearmsStates That Make You Wait to Buy Guns Have Fewer Deaths: StudyHomicides Devastate Black Communities, But Prevention Gets Little FundingBetter Patient Communication Needed After Urgent CareQuality Issues for Both Paper-, Electronic-Based Health RecordsRide-Sharing Services Could Cut Alcohol-Related CrashesLow-Cost Services a Major Player in Unnecessary Health SpendingMedical License Questions Sway Doctors' Mental Health Help'Heat-Not-Burn Cigarettes' Aiming for U.S. MarketInjured Patients Want More Info on Safety Improvement EffortsFDA Approves Test to Screen Donated Blood for Zika21 Percent of Americans Report Experiencing a Medical ErrorUber Can Help Cut Car Crashes, But Not Everywhere
Questions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Knowing Too Much About Your Genes Might Be Risky

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Nov 13th 2017

new article illustration

MONDAY, Nov. 13, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- There's such a thing as too much information when it comes to learning about your genes, two new studies suggest.

In one study, participants thought they were learning about their genetic risk for depression, not knowing that the test results they were given had been made up at random.

The study participants who were told they had a higher genetic risk for depression recalled having experienced more symptoms of depression than did those who were told they did not have an increased genetic risk.

"These results suggest that merely being told they have a genetic propensity toward depression might actually distort people's memories about how much depression they've experienced in the past," the study's lead author, Matthew Lebowitz, said in a Yale University news release.

The study's co-author, Woo-kyoung Ahn, a psychology professor at Yale, added that "this is particularly alarming when we consider that patients' memories about their own subjective experiences are the primary information used to make a psychiatric diagnosis."

The findings were published in the November issue of the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

In a second study by the same research team, participants who were told they did not have a genetic risk for obesity rated diet and exercise as less important, and were much more likely to eat unhealthy foods than were participants who were not given this information.

The study, available online, will be published in January 2018 in the journal Appetite.

"It seems that when people were told they did not have a particular genetic susceptibility to obesity, they assumed that they wouldn't have to worry about what they ate or how much exercise they got," Ahn said.

This "genetic invincibility effect" can give people a false sense of invulnerability, according to the researchers.

Lebowitz said, "Providing people with information about their own genes is likely to become an increasingly common practice in many areas of health care, and this will probably have a lot of benefits."

But, he added, "while the advantages of increased access to genetic information seem to be widely recognized, our findings suggest that there might also be some downsides that the field needs to grapple with."

More information

The U.S. National Institute of General Medical Sciences has more on genetics.