Sunday, November 10, 2013

Direct to Consumer

TAG of the Week:


Many private companies offer genetic testing directly to consumers (i.e., without the mediation of clinical staff, genetic counselors, or other professionals).  One of the major concerns public health practitioners, health professionals, and other stakeholders have with this is how those not fluent in genomics or medicine may manage their decisions based on the potential abundance of genetic risks communicated.  Do targeted services, such as personalized diets for weight loss, circumvent or compound this problem?  Does Inherent Health adequately explain their methods?  Would more information on the tests and/or genetic information reported to clients be more beneficial or harmful?

75 comments:

  1. Companies that do not offer professional help for after the test are compounding the problem. People may misinterpret the results of the tests, which could cause more harm than good. Companies should offer services to so that people do not misinterpret the results of the tests. Inherent Health adequately explains the genomics behind their tests and how the genes cause certain diseases. Inherent Health also provides professional help to people who need it. Although Inherent Health is direct to consumer, they provide adequate information and help to make their services useful. I believe that more information on the tests the better, but only if there is help provided to interpret the results.

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  2. Although Inherent Health offers customers the opportunity to discuss their results with genetics professional, the testing they provide is unnecessary and compounds the problem of health literacy and has the potential to severely misinform people who are not fluent in genetics. Although genetic information can be useful in tailoring diet and exercise as well as alerting people to potential diseases, the information should only be sought per the recommendation of a doctor and within a clinical setting where the results can be discussed appropriately. Testing for a slew of things is superfluous and will probably do more harm than good. Although DTC is exciting to consumers, it really is a serious decision that needs to be made by someone who is well informed.

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  3. The website for Inherent Health does a great job of making their product attractive to customers. That being said, people are likely to get these tests done and then have no idea what to do with the results. Even though Inherent Health offers customers the opportunity to talk to a professional about the results, those customers might not even realize they are misinterpreting the results--so that might not even be used. DTC seems like a great idea at first, but it could be dangerous. Inherent Health should provide more information on the tests to give clients a better understanding of the test, but overall, people should really just go to their doctors for a recommendation for genetic testing. It's much safer, and it will keep people from getting genetic testing done when they probably don't need it.

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  4. The more information private genetic testing companies provide to their consumers, the more informed they will be. But that doesn't necessarily mean the consumer will know how to effectively utilize that information to produce the best possible health outcomes. Although Inherent Health offers consulting services and advice from health professionals, that is an extra step in the direct-to-consumer process, and I think consumers are likely to take in the information without seeking out additional resources to interpret those results. They may apply their results to what they've heard on the news, or what their friends have done in similar situations. The whole point of direct-to-consumer is convenience and fast results, without having to consult a doctor. But physician consultation should be mandated for those who choose to get genetic tests from private companies, in order to ensure that the information is not misinterpreted or misused. The way Inherent Health is currently structured, that service seems to be optional, which does not guarantee that the results they produce will be effectively used by the consumer. So while I don't think more information for the consumer is harmful, companies must take caution in how they present the information, and in what context the consumers should take particular advice. It could be highly dangerous and stressful for consumers to obtain information about their genetics and health, without having a way to interpret the true impact on their daily lives.

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  5. Elisabeth BellissimoNovember 10, 2013 at 9:33 PM

    Even though Inherent Health explains their methods very well and provides resources where customers can receive counseling and consulting services to help interpret their genetic information, it seems that these direct to consumer companies only compound the problem. As previous posters have said, the tests that Inherent Health provides are not absolutely necessary to the everyday person's health, and the results that people obtain could be misinterpreted and cause unnecessary worry. But it also depends on the type of consumer. For example, I have information about my genome from 23andme and I appreciate the information. This may only be because I am interested in the health care field and find the information useful. However, I can see how it could be harmful for others to know unnecessary genetic information. Overall, I think that Inherent Health does a good job explaining their methods and providing other resources, direct to consumer testing may not be useful at all for those who do not have any other reason to obtain the information.

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  6. Like all direct to consumer companies, Inherent Health targets the less fluent consumers, who are not necessarily familiar with genomics. By targeting this population, Inherent Health further compounds the problem regarding inappropriate use of genetic information. Consumers who invest in this testing are not offered the professional counseling needed to explain the significance of the results. Inherent Health merely includes a free consultation with a “Genetic Professional,” which is a very vague title in itself. I think the idea of determining the most healthy and effective lifestyle based on individual genetics is innovative and potentially life changing; however, I also believe that genetic testing should not be done without the mediation of genetic counselors and/or other medical professionals. Because most consumers do not understand the implications of genetic tests, I feel that DTC companies like Inherent Health will only cause greater confusion and misconception among consumers.

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    1. I don't think Inherent Health (IH) is necessarily intentionally targeting the heath illiterate consumers who aren't familiar with genetic testing. I think that by default it's that population that would be most likely to use DTC genetic testing services like IH anyway. Also, IH does have a section specifically targeting health workers, the Health Professionals Network. Even though this particular company claims to have board-certified genetic counselors, I agree that DTC companies in general would add more confusion to an equation that's already very complicated.

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  7. Before we can discuss the consumer's knowledge and their needs we must first understand that Inherent Health is a business. This means that they have some product or service to be sold in order to make money. With this being said I believe their services are what consumers are generally interested in more than understanding how the whole process works.

    Despite that consumers may not even care about the science behind targeted services like weight loss and genetic summaries about a client's body it is clear about one thing and that is to help the consumer. With this being said, I would support inherent health even with the absence of complete understanding from the consumer's point of view.

    Some issues, however, are inevitable. These issues are whether or not targeted services will hurt the consumer, the risk of interpreting the data inaccurately, and the lack of professional opinion. I believe the issue of these genetic tests can both hurt and help the consumer depending on the consumer's knowledge of genetics. This can be prevented if physicians and clinicians are closely monitoring a patient's genetic information as well as inherent health's interpretation. With a personal doctor, the amount of genetic information may cause stress but in the end it will ultimately benefit the consumer.

    Inherent health, in this link, does not adequately explain their strategy with depth. Instead they explain the services they provide and provide credibility with their services. Nothing about how they find personal genetic data is actually seen on this link.

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  8. I do believe that this website, Inherent Health, is part of the problem that DTC tests cause. When looking at this website, I tried to put myself in the shoes of someone who knew nothing about genomics. Looking at the website through that filter, I would probably think that the website was good. It would seem helpful and have a new method of attacking things that I never would have considered. However, that being said, I believe that if I were to get these tests done, and I was not an informed individual, I would be incredibly confused and scared once I got my results back. This site does off genetic counseling after, but I still think that this site does more harm than good.

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    1. I think that the site made available as much information as it should, targeting consumers and health workers alike, and clearly outlining their privacy policy on how a person's data, once collected, is used. So if a person chooses to do the program, it's their responsibility to learn the information that's presented to them. In the case of getting the test results back, I think it's hard to read any language that you're unfamiliar with, so it's important to seek the help that's provided. The individual has a personal responsibility to be an active learner rather than a passive recipient when it comes to their health. So I think most of the harm would come from people not taking the time to educate themselves on the availability of resources, not from information posted on the site.

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  9. I concur with most previous posters that misinterpretation of information by the less educated person could lead to a majority of problems. However, this site is mainly dealing with weight loss regiments that are tailored to the specific person. People can go on the Internet now and read a whole lot of crazy weight loss/ diet plans that are extremely unhealthy and much more dangerous then this website would be giving. I think this site offers a valid source of tailored info to people wanting to learn about their specific weight loss plan. Given that the site puts it into plain, non-scientific and confusing, language and is offering generally safe and, for lack of a better word, good advice, I think it might be a good thing to have people be more knowledgeable about how metabolism and things work rather then some ignorant people who may just think eating less food in general will help them loose weight. The last aim of this site mentions “ understanding available medicines or preventative care…” I believe that this part of the information is, however, something that should be confirmed with a doctor face-to-face to eliminate any emotional or harmful behavior. However, assuming this site does not hand out a prescription for anything I think it is implied that if the person wanted to take the medical advice on prescriptions then they would have no choice but to go see a doctor near by. Overall, I think I see more good in this then harm.

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  10. Upon first visiting Inherent Health’s website, I tried to put myself in the consumer role searching for such a product. I found that the website uses great marketing and advertising skills to pull the consumer in and really want to buy the product. Words such as “free” and “proven” were bolded throughout the pages. After further research, I did eventually find some background genetic information specifically under the Weight Management tab. There was a link to download scientific evidence with a few pages about specific genes targeted by the testing available. However, if a consumer with no Health Science background, this link would have most likely been overwhelming.

    I believe though, that it is important to have the genetic information available no matter the knowledge of the consumer. The consumer can then make an informed decision on whether or not to use the information or ask questions about it. Thus, the harm or good of the extra information depends on context – on whether or not the consumer chooses to use it and how they use it.

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  11. After our lecture on direct-to-consumer testing, I was able to see both the pros and cons of this type of genetic testing. Personally, I feel that providing consumers, who don’t have a strong background in genetics, with an overwhelming amount of genetic information would not be useful and instead may instigate panic. Furthermore, as a consumer, I would not want to receive information if I would be likely to misunderstand the information, and didn’t have the resources or connections to someone else who could help me interpret it. Managing important lifestyle decisions such as weight loss, which affect ones health, should not be made merely from a surface level, potentially incorrect interpretation of genetic information. Depending specifically on the situation and company, targeted services can compound or circumvent the problem of providing genetic information to consumers who don’t understand it. If the company only offers the raw genetic information, then the targeted service compounds the problem. If the company also offers the consumer a counseling session with a professional to interpret the results along with the genetic results, then the targeted service circumvents the problem. Thus, the benefits of targeted services depend on what specifically they offer – simply the results, or interpretation as well.

    Inherent Health, in my opinion, did not specifically explain their methods. They said that the genetic results would allow individuals to develop personalized exercise regimens, understand their diet, etc. But I didn’t know how they were sequencing my genetic information, what sample they were going to use, whether I was making my personalized exercise plans based of the results they gave me, or whether they were going to tell me my exercise plan based of my genetic results. Thus many of the specifics were unclear to me. Although they did include that customers would have access to a genetic professional to discuss their results. Overall, I think that being able to interpret genetic tests properly is more important than just having more and more raw genetic information thrown at you – especially if it can be misinterpreted.

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  12. Personally, I do not believe that Inherent Health is part of the problem that DTC tests cause. For someone who could know nothing about genomics the website could appear helpful. It shows the a new way to combat problems that were not considered before. It would seem helpful and have a new method of attacking things that I never would have considered. Upon getting genetic tests through them, I don't think I would be receiving enough information before and after. The website doesn't really explain how they go about creating such a personalized understanding for the individual. After getting the results from Inherent Health, they don't offer genetic counseling, so I feel as though I would be confused as to how to proceed.

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  13. I do not think reporting more information to clients would be harmful. Because it is a direct-to-consumer test. I think it is important to provide enough information to help a customer interpret their results while emphasizing the availability of a counselor to assist with interpretation. Inherent Health does not exactly explain their methods, but they highlight their credentials (or at least throw around enough terms to make a consumer feel confident in their product) and make it known that they have genetic professionals on staff. The fact that they offer a genetic counselor for result interpretation is more important than the consumer understanding the company's methods. This personalized diet does not compound issues with genetic information interpretation as it does not make claims to certain diseases or conditions, which is the primary concern of professionals. It also does not circumvent this problem because it is a different entity all together. The product Inherent Health is offering is not one that is concerning in my opinion because it should not instill fear or worry in the client, and, in addition, they provide services to assist with result interpretation.

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  14. I believe Inherent Health's website successfully explains to the consumer what they do and why they are qualified to do it. The consumer does not have to search to site to learn important facts about Inherent Health. Inherent health informs the consumer that it is a CLA-certified lab. They also offer information on who they are owned by, Interleukin Genetics, and the research they conduct to ensure they offer valid and consistent results. The transparency of Inherent Health's credentials would make a consumer feel more comfortable with genetic testing through this company. Inherent Health seems to be aware of the risk of too much information or information that is not well understood that comes with DTC, they try to balance this out by offering services of a genetic counselor. However I do not think it is good that Inherent Health is advertising to their consumer a healthier, happier life with genetic testing. The results of the test will not ensure the consumer a better lifestyle not that they have access to more information, other factors definitely can effect these results. For instance, an individual who receives results that provide better genetic information then intended may believe that they can afford to live a less healthy lifestyle.

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  15. Targeted services such as Inherent Health’s direct-to-consumer “health improvement” genetic tests compound the problem of people making medical decisions based on non-clinical information. Not only do direct-to-consumer genetic tests normally not include guidance from medical clinicians to help them decipher their information, but the information itself could be highly likely to be not based on that much medical information. Inherent Health does not adequately explain their methods. They basically just say that they’ll send you a kit, your send it back, and you get your results. It does not explain the actual testing process that is done, what they do with your sample after the fact, how they protect your confidentiality, or what you should do should you have further questions or want assistance interpreting the results. I think that more information would be more helpful as it would help people make the best, most well-informed decisions about whether or not they should take and purchase the test, whether they should seek this test from a physician, whether this test is actually necessary, etc. I think that specifically in terms of nutrition and well-being, for the purposes that Inherent Health uses it, that more genetic testing will not be more helpful. For people who have difficulty losing weight and/or maintaining physical health on their own, I do not think that a genetic test/genetic information will help, especially if this information is not explained.

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  16. We readily accept the notion that lay people should not diagnose themselves with a disease or prescribe a treatment regimen without expert consultation. Interpretation of genetic tests should not be much different. The lay public should not attempt to interpret the results of genetic tests without the consultation of an expert. Inherent Health offers the services of a genetics professional, but does not seem to require them. As a consumer, it would be wise to consult a genetics professional to truly understand the risks of a genetic test before embarking on a treatment regimen. Otherwise, it is very likely that the consumer will misinterpret the results because they do not have a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of genetics. It can lead to fatalistic outcomes in the case of a positive result or encourage unhealthy behaviors in the case of negative results.

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  17. Inherent Health at first seems to be very appealing and helpful, but when faced with the question of whether they adequately explain their methods or not, I would say no. They pinpoint how people could benefit from their tests and they almost seem to be flaunting their credibility by mentioning where their scientific advisers are from as well as how they are a part of Interleukin Genetics, Inc. and how they continue to publish peer-reviewed articles. They do not go into depth about the tests offered and what they mean. I think more information on tests and genetic information reported to clients could be beneficial or harmful depending on the situation. In most cases though, I would say that if a person is paying to have a test done, they should be given all the information they need and have a right to know. Targeted services such as personalized diets for weight loss appeal to many people, causing them to forget about what is more important. It is hard to tell whether this program truly exists for the benefit of people who need help with their health. It seems as if there are some ulterior motives behind the services they offer. If people are being attended to by those who do not have a well-rounded knowledge of genomics and medicine, inaccurate information may be given out and the wrong aspects may be focused on, which I see as a big issue.

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  18. I agree with what most posts have said above. Inherent Health does explain their methods and providing genetic help, however I think overall it just compounds the problem with DTC testing. As a person with a background in health, I can read the website and understand what the implications of my results could mean. Someone without a background in genetics or biology could be extremely overwhelmed with their results and not fully comprehend the meaning of them.

    I also think that Inherent Health does not explain the methods well enough for someone with no background in science. It basically just says that you get the test, send in the kit, and get your results. It does not explain a person's right to privacy and confidentiality. It does not give an explanation of what the results mean either. I think the idea of Inherent Health is good but they should work with doctors to ensure that people interpret the information correctly instead of working directly to the consumer.

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  19. I think Inherent Health is on the right track to providing adequate information to the people who use their service. They mention that a genetic counselor is available for those who receive their results and would like more professional explanation. The only issue with this is that it is mentioned at the end of the paper and does not come automatically with the direct-to-consumer test. As humans we are flawed in believing we know more information than we actually do. Those who are not familiar with any sort of genomics make think themselves worthy of interpreting their results when in reality they are not. Inherent Health does a good job by offering help but their should be help offered initially to avoid issues that come with DTC testing.

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  20. The Inherent Health website makes a lot of assumptions about which consumers will buy their genetic tests. Genetic testing results can be a large amount of information that can negatively affect someone if they do not know how to properly interpret it. Essentially, you are relaying health information to an individual about their genome - something they cannot change. Without an understanding of the human genome and genetic variations, consumers may interpret their genetic testing results in a way that could lead to negative consequences. Unfortunately, the Inherent Health Website only offers very general information suggesting that it could influence health. It doesn't go into detail about to what degree genetic variants affect us or how to fully interpret genetic information from testing results. Furthermore, they don't really explain the process of how they will conduct the genetic testing, how the samples will be stored or disposed of, or what techniques they use, and how accurate they are. They simply tell you to mail in a cheek swab and within a short period of time, your results will mailed back to you.

    Therefore, unless Inherent Health provides consumers with more information on relative risks, genetic variants, susceptibility, and the full spectrum of options available, this type of test could compound the problems currently associated with direct to consumer genetic testing. More information would probably be more beneficial for consumers since it would better inform them to make better decisions and interpretations of their genetic information.

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  21. I do believe that targeted services such as personalized diets such as those offered by Interleukin Genetics’ “Inherent Health” brand can potentially cause problems if the consumer does not first consult with their primary physician before acting on any of the recommendations given by the genetic tests. Inherent Health does not adequately explain their methods to the consumer on the website they use vague language and emphasize the benefits of the product, but do not explain what exactly they test for. Despite claiming that they include a consultation with a licensed genetic counselor with every order, Inherent Health does not tell you where the counselor is based or if appointments are available. More information on the tests and what specific information is included with the results would be beneficial to clients.

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  22. While looking through Inherent Health’s website, I began to notice their emphasis on empowering the reader (or consumer) by bolding phrases like “empower consumers” and “understand their unique genetic makeup” and by constantly italicizing the words “you” and “yours.” Although they make it clear that consumers have the option of speaking with a genetic professional, it seems apparent that they are conveying the message that health care professionals are not a necessary component in achieving optimum health, particularly if you know your genetic makeup. I do not think targeted services such as this can replace the role that a primary care physician can play in a person’s health. Many diet or exercise plans always advise people to consult their doctor before they begin; therefore, I think that genetic testing should come with this advice as well, particularly if a person plans to undergo a drastic change in their diet, exercise behaviors, or other lifestyle factors. I think that giving patients more genetic information would only be beneficial if those patients had a thorough understanding of genetics and its implications, or if they were going to be seeking the advise of a genetic counselor or other health professional. Otherwise, I think giving more information is futile, or even harmful, if the client does not have a thorough understanding of genomics and the implications of genetic testing.

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  23. Inherent health makes their mission and goals very clear. They explain the uses of their genetic tests in lay terms, rather than confounding scientific jargon which, as a promotional, commercial factor, is often used to embellish what is usually nothing more than a mediocre or invalid product. They give evidence speaking to the reliability and validity of the company and the tests themselves. One component of Inherent Health I found that set it apart from some of the other companies we have analyzed is they have available a licensed board-certified professional to help clients interpret their test results. Although it seems that they only provide the one counselor, it’s better than none at all in terms of addressing the health literacy barrier. I think this barrier will continue to exist because this form of testing and personalized health care is relatively new. Until DNA testing becomes more main stream and educational aspects start being incorporated into everyday life, I think there will always be a need for patient-provider “handholding”. On the other hand, I do think that personalized tests such as targeted programs for weight loss compound the problem. I think personal becomes too personal when it increases the burden of either party, healthcare provider or patient, especially if the efficiency of the system as a whole is compromised as a result. In terms of information being beneficial or detrimental, it entirely depends on the nature of the information and more importantly the patient’s ability and willingness to take appropriate action.

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  24. I think that the emergence of sites like InherentHealth are the product of our society's emphasis on individualization. We, as Americans, respect and enjoy the feeling of taking control of our own lives and decisions, and rightly so. But when this sentiment leaks into the healthcare sector, there are bound to be problems.

    The truth of the matter is that most Americans have little to no deep knowledge of the science behind their health, and this includes genetics. And then businesses have the potential to emerge and profit. While what InherentHealth claims to do is positive, I can't help but wonder how much they actually care about what they claim versus how much they care about their profits.

    I think that the only way that our society can truly benefit from websites such as this is after our collective understanding of the science behind our bodies is made much more widespread.

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  25. This DTC company seems to be more beneficial than the genetic tests that we reviewed earlier in the semester. Unlike the past DTC companies such as 23 and me, Inherent Health provides "experts" to help after receiving the results of the genetic tests.

    However, DTC still has downsides. One example is that it does not go through medical professionals. Although experts in genetics may be there to help the customer, the customer would not have access to a medical professional's advice. Also, genetic testing may reveal a risk that can cause fear in the costumer even if the risk is very minimal.

    Inherent Health did not explain their method well. The mostly talked about the benefits of the test but did not say how they were going to conduct the test. They were very vague about the steps that had to be taken. Of course, this may be a way to help customers who have no prior scientific knowledge to understand the procedure in simple terms.
    Finally, the way they target weight loss and living healthier is a great advertisement but makes us wonder if that is the only factor that comes with testing our DNA.

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  26. While this direct-to-consumer company does provide some support and explanations from genetic experts along with the genetic test, there is no mention of providing customers with access to advice from a medical doctor or genetic counselor to deal with the many factors that could come from learning ones genetic information. Inherent Health does a great job at advertising the beneficial health effects that could come from getting this test done, such as personalizing ones exercise regimen and diet, and encourages people to take control of these aspects of their lives to improve their health and well-being. However, the reality of the situation is that the majority of the American public is not fully prepared to understand what consequences there may be of having the testing done and furthermore, how to deal with the results once they have them. I think Inherent Health needs to provide more specific information about their methods and should acknowledge that the decision to get testing is not a simple choice to take control of ones health, but rather is a complex decision-making process that should be done with the advice of a medical professional.

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  27. Companies such as Inherent Health are breaking into a new and untapped market of offering personalized care and genetic testing to individuals. While these companies have every right to market themselves and develop as they wish, this does pose some problems for consumers.

    Some consumers may not know about genetics and the implications for their health, so utilizing these targeted services without the help of health
    professionals who know the consumers can pose a problem and leave consumers in the dark about the companies methods. Individuals who wish to use these services should also complement their health care with people in real life to be more beneficial and not cause harm.

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  28. Inherent Health would seem like a great option because they have a certified genetic professional to answer any questions you may have. This might seem appealing to someone who is not exactly health literate and would want someone to clearly explain the implications of the results, so that they don’t misinterpret them. However, suggestions such as diet and exercise should not take place in a genetic counseling setting, but rather in a clinical setting with a primary care physician. Geneticists can sometimes be confused as a primary care physician because genetic information can be useful in understanding the role of diet and exercise, but the implementation should be followed through with a physician. Therefore, I think these online services compound the problem of fully understanding the implications of your genes. More information might mislead the consumer to not have to seek appropriate care.

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  29. The only problem I see in DTC genome sequencing is when incorrect information is given. In this case, I would have to apply a principle of the business ethicist, Albert Carr. He suggests that so long as a business is legal and profitable it is ethical. To go off of that, I think that as long as the DTC is not misinforming clients than there is no problem. Consumers should be smart enough to know that by not getting your genome tested in a medical setting, there is some chance that the results might not be entirely scientific. Unless the company is lying to the client, nothing that they are doing strikes me as unethical. Additionally, I don’t think there need to be tight regulations on this business either. Maybe this is a libertarian perspective, but free markets are better for societies than highly regulated markets. People will only pay what they are willing to spend on this kind of service, so if people want a customized diet based on their genes let them have that. Furthermore the dieting industry in highly profitable in the US, so from a business point of view it is strategically to capitalize on these new technologies.

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  30. At first glance, this website seems too good to be true. It appears to offer answers to all your health problems from weight management to heart health, nutritional needs, etc. To someone without any knowledge of genomics or genetic testing, this might seem like a dream come true. It appears that all you have to do is swab your cheek and you will get all this personalized information to help you lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle.
    However, I remain skeptical. The site promises free consultation after receiving your results. I would like to know the details of this “consultation.” The site does not go into specifics about this. Is it one consultation for each test or one for all the tests you choose to take? Also, what exactly is a “board-certified genetic professional”? Is it a doctor, a genetic counselor, or neither? I could see where this could lead to some problems. Since there is no requirement for a follow up with a doctor or genetic counselor, I foresee people taking this information and misinterpreting it, even after the free consultation. In my opinion, follow-ups are crucial so individuals have professional guidance and advice to follow. It would be difficult to follow a lifestyle changing routine without oversight from your doctor, who is familiar with your medical history. On the other hand, this site seems to be reliable in the fact that its FAQs section is thorough, and covers a range of questions and concerns. Inherent Health is a pioneer in the DTC testing community, therefore I will have to wait for other companies to emerge to make a more accurate conclusion on its validity.

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  31. Even though Inherent Health offers opportunities for their customers to interact with a licensed genetic professional, genetic testing without the approval of a physician, genetic counselors, or other health professionals could be dangerous to the consumer. This company is targeting the general public who aren’t necessarily fluent in genomics or medicine and may make a decision that could bring potential harm rather than benefits. In America, people are obsessed with diets and weight loss so by targeting into this topic, more consumers would buy into the product. I believe consumers should consult their physicians first to see if they would recommend this genetic testing from the company. Then they should follow up with the physician and see how to alter their diet based on the test. Obviously, they seek this genetic testing because of the lower-cost; but in the end, they are really risking their health.

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  32. The website certainly does a good job of enticing the audience. That being said, genetic testing without the consultation of professionals will only cause more problems for the public. The consults that Inherent Health provides may be biased and might push the customers to perform more genetic tests. Majority of Americans have no medical or scientific background. Even if they are provided with all the proper information, they may not make the best decision for their health. Also, Inherent Health offers minimal information on their methods. I personally would not take their genetic tests.

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  33. This organization seems legitimate and helpful at a first glance. The services they offer seem like good options and a great way to personalize health plans. I do find it encouraging that they will offer counseling from a trained genetic counselor but aside from that point I am a little wary of this organization. First of all, the information has not been updated since 2009 and since it is almost 2014 this is concerning to me. I also am concerned about their claims concerning super personalization based on the genome. I feel as though it would be better to sequence the genome to identify possible deficiencies, intolerances, or proclivities as opposed to defining a better fad diet. There are also issues concerning our knowledge base when correlating the specific genes to nutrition requirements.

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  34. I feel that I may be a little biased in this situation. I am not really a fan of any kind of Direct to Consumer genetic testing because of the high probability that the results could be misinterpreted, especially if there is no one to help relay the information in an understandable way to the individual. In this case, I am still not a fan of DTC testing. I believe there are other paths that an individual can take in order to deal with health and nutrition issues. One can get in touch with a nutritionist, a personal trainer, or even a physician to talk about possible ways to tackle diet implementation and weight loss strategies. If the individual is determined to find results of genetic predisposition to exercising, motivation, or nutrition (as we discussed in class earlier), he /she can have the physician order the test and interpret it for the patient themselves or have a geneticist weigh in. Overall, I think that these kinds of personalized tests could compound the problem that DTC testing already has issues with.

    In regards to the website, I think that Inherent Health is not very clear in their information. It seems like they tried to put the information in layman’s terms but it was too broad and general. They didn’t go into any details about any kind of test or research that they do. Instead, they simply listed it like it was a task that was completed. I definitely think that more information about the tests would be a lot more beneficial to the clients who order these tests. Even if people don’t understand the full extent of the testing, I think that a summation should be included, which goes into a little more depth than what is already written in there.

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  35. Although Inherent Health seems like a legitimate site and business, I am still a little skeptical since I personally would not use or support DTC. It seems to target customers who are not necessarily familiar with genetic testing or genetics. Many of the information present can be misinterpreted and could compound the problem. In addition, they don't really provide the methods. I wouldn't go ahead and do this without consulting with a health professional or physician. However I could be wrong and the tests could be very beneficial to the public.

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  36. I also believe that Inherent Health is compounding the problem, not making it better. Even though the company explains their methods well and offers consumers the ability to obtain genetic counseling if they want it, I believe that there is still great potential for misinterpretation. I think that many people who get the testing done through DTC deliberately want to avoid having to go to doctors for information because they see it as more convenient and easier to obtain the results on their own. But I think these people could easily misinterpret their results or have excessive unnecessary worry if they discover they have a lot of predispositions to diseases that could easily be reduced by other behavior factors such as lifestyle modifications. They also might not understand all the genetic and biology components behind the testing, even if they have that information available to them. Being able to access Inherent Health's testing methods is good, but really only helps if the people getting DTC can actually understand what it all means. I believe that people who are considering genetic testing should really go see a doctor or licensed health professional first, where the doctor can make sure that the patient truly does understand everything and is making a completely informed decision.

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  37. I think that targeted services are compounding the problem of misinformation because a lot of times these companies are merely in the market for profit and so a lot of their resources go into the the economic side of their business rather than caring for their clients and making sure that they fully understand all of the information.

    Inherent Health does not adequately explain their methods and they leave much to be desired. A lot of what they have posted is pretty vague and does not delve into exactly what they do. I understand this may be because most people do not have sufficient medical understanding to know all of the details. This should be solved by making sure a medical professional is available for patients as they browse through online personalized sites.

    I share in the concern that most people probably visit these sites lacking the information necessary to make informed decisions. I think that this is something that must be addressed so that people do not end up purchasing products they may regret.

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  38. Inherent Health appears to be a legitimate website, however I will always be skeptical about direct consumer genetic testing. This website effectively appeals consumers, but this could lead to problems with the public. They may purchase genetic testing because they are attracted to the website and they may not know how to interpret the results. It is good that Inherent Health provides consultation, however, they may want consumers to purchase more genetic testing. I probably wouldn’t purchase genetics tests from Inherent Health.

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  39. I think that Inherent Health, like many other (if not all) direct to consumer companies, target consumers in the layperson population who are more susceptible to misinterpretation because they are not familiar with genomics. Targeting this population further compounds the problem regarding misuse and misunderstanding of genetic information and testing. Consumers who seek out this genetic test are offered a free consultation with a genetic professional however many of these individuals may choose to interpret the results themselves which leaves room for incorrect interpretation. Although the idea of developing a healthy and effective lifestyle in response to an individual’s genetics is appealing, I believe genetic testing should only be conducted by genetic and medical professionals to ensure the individual does not misunderstand their genetic information. Inherent Health explains their methods well and does provide resources for the consumers, but I still believe direct consumer companies like these only compound the problem. Most consumers of genetic tests do not fully understand the implications of the test and the harm that unnecessary information can have on their lives and the lives of their families.

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  40. At face value, Inherent Health seems wonderful but I have no idea whether or not I should trust their commitment to “providing the most reliable, scientifically-based useful genetic tests to our customers.” The fact that they list ”understanding the dietary supplements best suited to them” as a major selling point to improve one’s health is dubious. If they actually listened to all the scientists at the universities they name-dropped, then they would know that the use of dietary supplements is negligible unless you’re 85 and need fiber or are deficient in other nutrients, something that is rarely based in genetics. Even if it is, you don’t need a genetic test to tell you that you’re anemic or lack Vitamin D. Chances are, your doctor already noticed, assuming you see them.
    But the bottom line is, if your diet is proper, which apparently it will be if you listen to Inherent Health, you will not need any supplementation. It seems that you would only need supplementation if Inherent Health didn’t deliver on their other claims, adding to the dubious nature of the description. Perhaps I’m making too big a deal of this but 999 times out of 1,000, if someone is pushing dietary supplements, it’s not your health they’re after: it’s your money. The other bullet points seem sound enough, at least to a layperson like me.
    Physicians have a good idea as to how much information a patient should be bothered with, especially a PCP who has a relationship with their patients. Genetic counselors would also be more suited for advising patients and figuring out what they do and do not want to know. Someone who does not have financial stake is best.
    Inherent Health most certainly does not adequately explain their methods. All they really do is thrust fancy universities in your face without exactly saying what they do, at least on the page to which we’re linked. A healthcare provider should always be involved in advising and interpreting results. This would increase the benefit and decrease the harm of those results.

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  41. The whole dynamic of weight loss programs is very business-like and it seems like all they want is your money. They exploit the use of genetic testing in order to promote business and profits that seem to be honestly, a waste of money. I commend them for trying to promote healthier lifestyles however this does not have to be done through genetic testing. If you have a gene that is linked to obesity, should you adhere to their weight loss program? Those are the questions consumers would ask if they were on their website however if you did contain the gene, you'd already notice that your weight is above average and if not, then the lifestyle you are living right now is most likely healthy and well and does not need any intervention to tell you otherwise. The website does not explain clearly their steps and procedures of their genetic testing use and quite frankly, do not seem to be very credible. They just want you to purchase their "packages" of healthy living. I do not believe more information on the tests would be beneficial to the consumers because I feel that they would produce results that recommend you buy their products anyway. This would only confuse the consumers and trick them into thinking that their lifestyles are not healthy (even if they were) and would waste their money.

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  42. I think Inherent Health looks like another typical website trying to sell their product. Whether or not they have good intentions, they are definitely trying to market their genetic test to consumers. They also focus a lot on bone and heart health and dieting. I think that genetic testing can be helpful if you have a history of a dangerous disease and want to be proactive about it. However, getting a test to tell you how to change your diet seems a bit ridiculous to me. They just know how to word things to make it sound like you need it in order to eat right. I think something that Inherent Health's homepage does well is bold the flashy phrase in each paragraph that they want the readers to take home. Because ultimately they are not going to process everything that is said on the website but they will remember reading those things.

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  43. The inherent health website seems like a reliable and appealing test for those that are looking to improve their health and aren’t educated about the idea of direct-to-consumer genetic testing. Many people are very attracted to the concept of learning an effective way to lose weight or get healthier so a website like inherent health takes advantage of these people by making it seem like their testing will be the answer to these people’s individual health concerns. Also, now that I have learned about how these companies are profit-driven and much of what they said should not be taken as reliable, I would stay away from these sorts of genetic tests. Inherent Health provided resources for its customers to “Interact with a licensed, board-certified genetic professional” to relieve the concern that the customers won’t have a professional to interpret the results of the test. However, firstly, I am still skeptical that all of the information on their website is accurate, and I am also still concerned that customers will still misinterpret the results of their testing which will be harmful to them. Just because the company provides resources for learning more about the results, doesn’t mean that all of the customers will use these resources. This website seems like its goal is to provide people with a personalized way to live healthy lives, but it can easily be translated to a company trying to make a profit by targeting a large population of people that want to live healthy and don’t know any better.

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  44. The site really seems too good to be true. The website is very well done and would definitely catch the attention of potential buyers. It uses such trivial explanations that most likely make those who are uneducated in the world of DTC testing and genetics think that what they are purchasing is legit. Also, in a time where everyone is trying to find the best diet or weight loss program to go on, so many are going to fall for Inherent Health. I am worried that consumers will not understand their results and that could potentially be harmful. Some may take their recommendations to extremes and could even be given false information. I am also skeptical that they talk so much about their high credential-physicians and scientists but do not say that consumers will be able to be in contact with any of them. We have learned in class that tests can give very different results despite testing for the same thing. I guess I personally do not think that DTC testing is positive, especially for those who do not understand the risks or the information they are receiving. There needs to be an educated physician and genetic counselor with a patient to discern important results and further actions.

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  45. After glancing around on their website, I believe that targeted services for personalized diets and exercise will only exacerbate the situation because they are trying to entertain an uneducated audience. Their website gives overly optimistic statements and explanations to genetic testing. When genetics testing was a lot less popularized, its target audience was pregnant mothers with family histories of illnesses. This audience was a lot more selective and had a fairly decent education level. Since this site will be opening up targeted services like dieting and weight loss, this will inevitably open up the audience to a very broad range of people with varying education levels. Honestly, I don't believe DTC testing should be allowed for everyone and anyone, because of the greater potential harm it can cause. Perhaps someone receives back information saying that eating carrots will make them happier and more healthier. Sure the fact may be true, but the patient may take this to an extreme. Maybe putting carrots in every meal he or she eats (probably turning her skin pigmentation orange). This example, even though quite silly, is an important situation to think about. Interpretation of information will be different for every individual. As education level rises however, interpretation of information focuses and can set apart from extremes. In less educated populations, extreme interpretations are harder to avoid and can be detrimental to a persons health and well being.

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  46. I agree that this is a big issue, especially because it can be very easy for someone illiterate in genetics to completely overreact/underreact to a test result and immediately take steps that can be harmful to them in the long run. A personalized diet, as long as its a balanced diet I personally dont think can ever be too bad. At most you might gain or lose a little weight, but as long as all the nutrients needed are being received it shouldn't be an issue. Inherent health gives a very broad description of what they do and how they test and how they interpret the results. We have seen in class that not all companies judge severity of a mutation the same so it is possible they could interpret the DNA differently then another company and therefore, Inherent's results could be inaccurate. I think more information will be helpful as long as it is put in a way that the everyday person could understand, not just someone with an understanding of genetics.

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  47. I believe there's a lot of initiative and potential in these companies. However, without proper direction or responsibility, this information can do more harm than good. People who go to get these tests done want to ultimately be healthier and live happier. If they don't know how to properly interpret results, testing can do more harm than good. People can drastically change their habits either unnecessarily or harmfully. If there isn't a counselor or clinician to help guide someone through the meaning and practicality of their results, it's not ethical to throw genetic results at people. Even in terms of the scientific community, if the meaning of certain genetic information is not fact, it's not fair for a company to hint that something might or might not be harmful. In terms of all these possibilities that can come with a genetic test, far more information should be available to consumers on the website of a company offering the service. It's not ethical to keep any of the potential harms or dangers that can result from getting the tests done. However, long pages of ethics and potential risks doesn't sell a product--so unless laws or regulations are passed addressing the issue, you're not going to see much change.

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  48. I thing targeted services, such as personalized diets could circumvent this problem in a few ways. People often think that because they might be (or think they are) overweight, then any diet will work for them, and they are usually wrong. Different diets work for different people, any fad diets aren't any good for long run purposes, such as obesity and managing diabetes. People often hear "Lose 10 pounds in one month!" and get really excited and immediately jump on the bandwagon.

    However, diets that involve genetics and that are personalized will help people to understand, as Inherent Health says, "how their body burns energy", which is more important than doing just any diet. It's important that when you plan to lose weight, that it will be permanent and not just a two week diet plan to make you fit into a dress. A personalized diet is probably a lot safer and I think Inherent Health explained their information very thoroughly. The amount of information they gave about the tests was good and will be beneficial to clients.

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  49. Targeted services such as diet and exercise regimens tailored to an indivdual's genome do not have the magic bullet cure that companies laud and consumers hope for. Aside from major metabolic issues that would cause a usually healthy or benign nutrient to become dangerous to health, these tests likely suggest diet and exercise programs that any individual would benefit from. The average American diet is already horrendous but a genetic test is not needed to tell someone they need to modify their lifestyle. Maybe these tests would give some individual's motivation to make significant lifestyle changes that they couldn't otherwise make after discussions with their PCP, but I do not believe this to be the case for the majority of people. Human metabolism is very similar across human populations making these tests not very useful. I view these tests and recommended diets/exercise merely as a way for creative companies to profit off of people's lack of genetic knowledge.

    Additionally, the website does not clearly indicate who or what company is actually running the test of your sample. The privacy section does mention that they try to protect individual's data and identity but also mention that "third parties" can access data with an attached identity if they have a password, but who these third parties are is not mentioned.

    Increasing the number of tests available for patients does not seem worth it in my opinion. The information gleaned could likely be obtained through talking with your PCP after explaining your lifestyle to them. These genetic tests do not seem useful unless an individual notices unexplained health problems or has a family history of metabolic syndrome disorders.

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  50. I think these targeted services are both beneficial and detrimental depending on the situation. If this information is presented to someone who has a good understanding about why and how they were diagnosed and what they should really do to overcome their genetic predisposition to these diseases, then yes they should be able to use genetics to lose weight. This is a great breakthrough for people who have the ability to understand these results and take them with a grain of salt and only incorporate them into their diets. However, the downside is for people who may not completely understand genetics, nutrition, and other aspects of health and they may use these results to an extreme and the bigger problem may be circumvented because they might not take the right actions and further worsen their problems or develop new problems if their new diet isn't balanced.
    I don't think inherent health adequately explains their methods, they are very general and broad and doesn't allow much information to be absorbed by the consumer. They give 6 basic steps that I probably could have made up on my own. I don't think they are being transparent enough for the educated consumer. Some people like to know more and understand what they are signing up for. I don't think this test allows that.
    I think more information on these tests would be beneficial because it would intrigue people and make them feel more inclined to use this test. When I first saw the website I thought it was a cool idea but then as I searched for more information to understand the proccess and educate myself, I was left disappointed becuase I didn't know exactly what they were going to do with my DNA to figure out the information. Also, if they gave more information it would make them more credible. Do they really even have a test or are they making up lies?

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  51. These private companies offering genetic testing give great advice and useful information however I do not think it’s enough to really help the individual. Inherent Health offers personalized exercise routines and diets to follow based on their genes. When an individual is reading their website this is definitely something that anyone would be interested in. Many people have tried hundreds of diets and none seem to work so if this tests will give them insight on how to help them, they are more willing to do it. Although they tailor the programs to their genes, it is not one hundred percent that it will work. There are many other factors that come into play when trying to lose weight or have a healthy life. The targeted services circumvent the problem short term, however long term things could change. I believe that Inherent Health needs to include more information and tell them what their genes mean rather than just telling them what to do with the results. When one is given the results often times they do not know what a lot of it means or what it tells them. Having a genetic counselor can help them deal with the news and what it means for their future generations. More information would help them make more of an educated decision rather than relying on what the doctors are telling them. Inherent Health prides itself on having reliable information and has the finest advisers within the United States however this is biased information and we cannot be so sure they are always correct.

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  52. I think that targeted services are an attempt to circumvent the problem, but that it does not plausibly represent an adequate alternative to professional one on one guidance. The benefit to having a doctor review results and discuss with you how to proceed is that it is truly tailored to you based on what the doctor sees and feels. We are more than what is written on our genome, which is demonstrated by how environment can influence disease etiology and other epigenetic factors. A result of a genetic test only tells part of a story, and it does not provide reasoning and discussion as to why someone should change their lifestyle in such a way. Also, without people understanding and internalizing why they want to make a lifestyle change, there is very little chance that it will stick.
    Inherent Health does not do much as far as methods, they simply tell you that you get a test that leads to a suggested diet program. There really isn't a discussion of how. I think that more information provided to clients would be beneficial if it was provided in the right way. The lay person does not have much medical knowledge, so the information would have to be provided as simplistically as possibly. This is one of the main reasons why involving physicians and genetic counselors is the accepted practice: these people are knowledgeable about the data and its implications and are able to relay that information in a way that is understandable.

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  53. I believe that genetic tests, such as the ones offered by Inherent Health, circumvent the problem but do not present an adequate alternative. While they simplify the process and allow people to customize the tests that they take, there still may confusion based on the results. It is still important to talk about the results with a medical professional, and this is not the case with Inherent Health tests.

    I also do not believe that Inherent Health adequately explains their methods. They spell out a few basic steps, and have a very simple explanation of how they do it. Additionally, I think that more information would be harmful to the patient. Not in the sense of causing physical harm, but more so in the fact that more information can be very confusing, especially without the guidance of a medical professional.

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  54. I think that specified genetic tests that can help with things like developing a personalized diet go around the problem of not knowing how patients will interpret their results. Having specific tests like these would allow for people to understand what they want to know, and therefore would not want to learn more or less information than they are getting. The patients would also be less likely to have negative reactions than if they were having their entire genome sequenced. I believe that there shouldn't be more information provided because the patients should know exactly what they want to know about their genes and having more information is what can cause unnecessary worry and concern.

    I agree with Andrew in regards to the amount of information that Inherent Health provides its prospective patients. They explain the basic principles of the methods that they use, but there are details that could be explained to any patients that want all of the information. With something like genetics, the companies should work with complete transparency because patients need to trust the company. Therefore, the companies should give all of the information about their method because those who don't want to know all of the details don't need to read them, but the people that want all of the details should have access to that information.

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  55. Inherent Health has a persuasive website that makes it seem that having genetic testing to determine one's predispositions "to absorb and metabolize fats and carbohydrates" and dietary/exercise plans based on maximizing how much energy a person can burn is the right decision to be made. This company does not really explain there methods besides saying that having a genetic test done will lead to improved diet and exercise because of the personalized plan they can develop. Even though they offer a genetic professional to those clients who want more information on how to interpret and analyze their own individual tests, I still do not think DTC genetic testing is the best method for obtaining genetic test results. I think it is important to talk about and understand genetic results with someone who is knowledgeable and literate in the subject. Not analyzing and discussing the results with someone like a medical professional can be confusing and cause more stress knowing the implications of what the tests results show.

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  56. Targeted services can both circumvent and compound this problem. The effect is contingent upon the extensivity of services provided by the company, and the messages they produce. Inherent Health has a noble goal, but if they are unable to convince their consumers to seek additional help from medical professionals or to follow through with diet/exercise plans, then their efforts are counterproductive. Targeted services are useful tools for those well-versed in genomics and/or medicine; these individuals could use the abundance of genetic risks as a driving force to change their lifestyle behaviors. However, for those who are not fluent in genomics or medicine, the information may be too overwhelming to handle. This sense of overwhelmingness could be addressed if the company provides information to consumers about the medical professionals they could contact. In addition, there is no guarantee that these individuals will follow through with the personalized plans, so these messages are crucial. The company must make sure their consumers are health literate enough to obtain this information and to act upon it on their own.

    Inherent Health explains their methods around research and practice in detail. However, there is limited information on the additional services they provide. For example, they mention opportunities for consumers to contact a “board-certified genetic professional.” However, they make no mention of what the scope of that professional’s practice is; there is no guarantee that that person would be qualified to help consumers “beyond the science” of their test results.

    More information can be both beneficial and harmful; it depends on the circumstances. If the consumers are proactive, then that information will help them make choices that are beneficial to their health. For consumers who are more passive and/or emotional, that information could cause anxiety that could lead to harmful choices. There are two ends of the spectrum, so companies should be mindful and should deter from generalizations. Companies like Inherent Health should be held accountable to some degree to protect consumers.

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  57. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  58. Inherent Health does a tremendous job introducing many valid reasons why their methods are valuable and can be life-changing with the proper steps to obtaining genetic information can undoubtedly benefit ones lifestyle. Genetic testing can be filled with vast information but most of can negatively affect someone if they cannot proper grasp what is being explained to them and thus leads to not properly interpreting it. Nonetheless, even with their initiative to assure the customer of a sound counseling and consulting services to broaden the ideals of the information, it begs issues and complications that may later arise. For example, the ad gives a brief breakdown of the goals and how to achieve them -- simple right? No, not necessarily, the risk of misinterpreting the data, and of course a professional opinion. Unfortunately, Inherent Health’s poster, does more harm than actual good because the lack of an authentic strategy to actually achieve the ideal lifestyle hinders it from being anything more than a glorified ad about the company’s accomplishments.

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  59. Inherent Health seems very targeted towards consumers. The website was very easy to navigate and had very simple instructions--in a language that the general public can understand. The company doesn't seem to go much in depth with their methods. They also do not go in depth on what happens to the information afterwards. Consumers won't know if the information is stored or if their genetic information will be accessible to other agencies such as health insurance. They advertise towards consumers bolding words such as "free," "personalized," and "valued" to seem like its worth it to have your genes tested. However, at the end of the process they don't refer you to a health professional, they just simply say "live healthy." Although they do offer recommendations, where and who are these recommendations coming from? There are some good and bad resulting from genetic testing. One of the positive aspects is that using information obtained from genetic testing, consumers can start tailoring their lives to prevent a certain genetic disease. However, consumers do not have the medical knowledge to interpret this information in a useful way. Companies like these should alway provide a health professional or recommend to a health professionals--consumers should not be left alone with this genetic information. In the end, interpreting genetic information correctly is the most important aspect of genetic testing so that consumers won't bring further harms to their health.

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  60. Targeted services can compound the problem if a physician or other health care professional is not involved in conversation. Inherent health uses very vague language and I don’t believe they adequately describe their methods. Most of what they say is centered on making themselves look legitimate. More information may not be the best approach for reporting genetic information. What might be the most beneficial is discouraging people from trying to interpret their results on their own or explaining the implications that come with getting tested, which is something that is usually lost in DTC methods.

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  61. I think that DTC genetic tests are not necessary because first of all they make it seem like everyone needs a genetic test when they don't. So if someone gets it and find nothing useful it was a huge waste of money. Also, they don't have the genetic counselors to help people work through their issues. It also infuriates me that people have made a product to market because it just seems like they don't care about people but only want to make money.

    I think that these tests may make the problem better depending on the types of diets they are giving people. If it's a great balanced nutritious diet then the prevalence of obesity may decrease. But if the diets are a gimick or a fad then it'll make the problem worse because people still wouldn't know how to properly feed themselves.

    I think that more information being available to patients would be useful. They do not explain their methods at all. For all anyone knows the results could be fake! I don't think people should get their own DTC tests unless a doctor encourages them to.

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  62. Targeted services compound the problem, especially since not very many Americans have fairly low genomic literacy. Without the ability to interpret the gravity of their testing result, any targeted services they may pursue could potentially worsen the problem. More information provided on the DTC tests would only help the problem if the additional information was provided by a trained genetic counselor.

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  63. Vanessa Merta

    Inherent Health is a business, which is something that needs to be taken into account when looking into genetic testing. Their first priority is to make money, not to necessarily help people. Dieting is also something that is very important to our society, and many people would do almost anything to stay thin, so this is a tactic that is easy to capitalize on. Once the customer receives their genetic information, they more than likely do not understand it, as genetic testing is not common knowledge. From the website, it looks like Inherent Health has good credentials, but they may not have the genetic councilor to explain the results to the customer. Having this information may cause unnecessary emotional distress to the customer when there may be nothing to actually worry about. When genetic tests are unwarranted by a doctor or genetic councilor, more than likely more problems arise than are solved.

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  64. Targeted direct-to-consumer services compound the problem of those not fluent in genomics or medicine making decisions based on information about genetic risks and predispositions. Many people will likely take their test results at face value and not research deeper into the issue. They likely are not fully literate with genomics and will not know how to interpret their results correctly. Inherent Health seems to explain their methods fairly adequately, yet I still have a difficult time trusting their motives. The description of the process of DNA testing on the website made me feel uneasy and skeptical. The website does not say what the scientists do with your genetic information after they finish testing it for disease risks. I think testing for a wide range disease is fairly unnecessary and may cause more harm than good. Knowing intricate levels of information about your genetics can be great in acting as a cue to action for changing health behaviors in a positive way, but knowing too much information has the potential to be psychologically harmful to a patient.

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  65. Inherent health does not adequately explain their strategy with depth. However, they explain the services that they provide credibility with their services. They don't explain how they find personal genetic data is actually seen on this link.

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  66. Although Inherent Health offers customers the opportunity to discuss their results with genetics professional, the testing could be very misleading. For one we do not know how credible those genetic professionals are because customers do not have the opportunity to meet them in person. Furthermore the information they may provide is unnecessary and causes a problem not a solution and that may misinform people.More information on the tests would be very beneficial for the customers because they can understand what type of tests they are taking and make an informed decision. This way people can get an exercise plan that works for them.

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  67. I think more education is a definite benefit for consumers. With more knowledge comes more power. Inherent Health's targeted approach is very beneficial. It helps target the problems that genetic tests could indicate, such as risk for diabetes or coronary heart disease. However, what Inherent Health fails to offer is proper education on what genetic testing could mean. If a non-educated person were to take the genetic test, they should know the difference between at risk, and 100% positive that a disease will show up in the future. For those that are well versed in the genetics language, I believe direct-to-consumer testing does not compound on the problem However this could easily prove to be the reverse with lack of proper education.

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  68. This webpage is trying to sell their genetic tests to consumers by making it about things that consumers are usually trying to buy. For example, a sure way to weight loss. They are no different from diet pill advertising because they focus on what the consumer wants instead of talking about the possible negatives to the product. Targeting services such as personalized weight loss compounds the problem, because consumers are buying the genetic tests in order to lose weight and not necessarily to find out what diseases they might be prone to. They are unaware that buying this genetic test will change the way they live their life and many of the consumers may not be ready for such information.

    Inherent health does not explain their methods well at all. They barely mention what they do. Instead they distract the consumer with fitness pictures, weightloss terms, and fancy jargon involving top schools that they research with. This distracts the consumer by making them want to buy the genetic test because smart people are involved and therefore can surely be trusted to have the consumers best interest in mind. I believe that more information about the test will only be helpful if they tell consumers about the risks involved such as the possibility of diseases such as cancer. It would also only be helpful if they remove the fitness advertising so that consumers can focus on the true purpose of the product.

    DTC (Direct to Consumer) marketing is unfair because big businesses try the get the consumer to buy things that they need professional advice to truly understand.

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  69. Services such as those provided by Inherent Health could be highly beneficial to consumers. This information could be very valuable in creating specific plans for individuals that could optimize their health. This service in particular seems reputable at first glance but if one were to utilize their services I would look more in depth at the information provided on their website. The information provided by these direct to consumer services can be helpful as long as they are interpreted correctly.

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  70. I believe that companies like this are out to make money. Some may now work with clinicians (I believe either to assure customers that it's "the real deal" or because legislation in certain states has been passed requiring it. I think that doing such a test could give people something to blame for example why they gain weight or are generally unhealthy. A genetic test isn'´t needed to hep people do some more walking and eat less fast food. Unless hospitals conducted these studies and had reason to, I don't believe that such companies are helping anyone really.

    I would only support companies like Inherent Health if there was evidence that it helps people change their lifestyles. If that one days ends up being the only thing that gets people to exercise and be healthy than maybe future legislation can help make these companies work better and to the benefit of communities.

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  71. Do targeted services, such as personalized diets for weight loss, circumvent or compound this problem?

    I believe that targeted services such as personalized diets for weight loss based on an individual’s genetics help us circumvent this problem of those not well versed in genomics or medicine making decisions based on potential risks. Assuming that individuals are given adequate counseling along with their individual plans, I feel that personalized diets and other such personalized lifestyle plans based on genetics are a positive thing.

    Does Inherent Health adequately explain their methods?

    In my opinion, Inherent Health adequately explains their methods in layman’s terms. However, as someone with a better understanding of genetics and genomics than the average person, I feel that they could be clearer about the science and process behind their services.

    Would more information on the tests and/or genetic information reported to clients be more beneficial or harmful?

    There is a fine line between too little and too much information for individuals who do not understand the details of genetics and genomics. On the one hand, it is important to communicate risks adequately to individuals, but on the other hand it is important not to confuse or compound client’s worries about their genetic predispositions, because in many cases your genome doesn’t necessarily define you. I believe that with an individual genetic counselor assigned to each client, this ideal balance of information can be achieved.

    Shanika Gilmour

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  72. It seems to me that any information a person is using to manipulate their health should be carefully studied. I think websites like Inherent Health could be helpful but I think that they should always be used with caution. As others have said, it seems they are out to make money and it is difficult to trust them once you know that. I think that anyone looking to make drastic changes in any aspect of their life with the hopes for a particular outcome should consult a physician who specializes in the area they are looking to improve. There is no better way to ensure that people aren't wasting their time on a regimen that isn't right for their particular situation. I think it is too easy for someone who is not highly educated in a particular area to correctly interpret test results or information offered. I think more information can generally be considered good, but again only if interpreted correctly which is why professionals should be the ones delivering the information to patients in a way that they can understand.

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  73. Genetic testing companies that do not educate their participants about the information they are receiving are only making the problem worse! It doesn’t seem fair that facilities probe individuals to find out their genetic make up without even giving them the tools to better themselves from the findings. It almost seems criminal, and very selfish at the least. We are leaving people emotionally unable to deal with the results, or have any clue how to help themselves. Inherent Health does a good job of explaining the genomics behind testing and how the genes cause specific diseases, giving professional help to individuals who would like it. They seem to be the best at educating people through the process the best.

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