Many Older Adults Want to Know More About Their DNA

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The National Poll on Healthy Aging suggests that only a small percentage of Americans in their 50s and early 60s have had their DNA tested, but it also indicates that far more older adults are interested in, but skeptical about, genetic testing. The poll is conducted by University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation in Ann Arbor.

DNA testing is commonly done for medical reasons, out of curiosity, or to provide information about ancestry and heritage. The most common reason for skepticism, according to the poll: Genetic testing could lead to concerns about future health.

Results of the poll, which involved 993 adults between 50 and 64, indicate that 1 in 10 have completed direct-to-consumer genetic testing, like 23andMe or Ancestry, and 1 in 20 have had genetic testing ordered by their health care provider. More than half of those polled expressed an interest in DNA testing to better understand their health risks, guide their medical care, or learn more about their ancestry.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved direct-to-consumer genetic tests for a number of diseases and conditions. About two-thirds of older adults who responded to the poll expressed at least some interest in learning about their risk for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Sourced from: Michigan Medicine – University of Michigan