March of Dimes Editorial Luncheon Discusses Gene Tests

New York City | Tuesday, June 30, 2009

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On Tuesday, June 30, the March of Dimes National Communications Advisory Council will hold one of its biennial luncheons for New York-area national reporters on the topic of “Testing Your Personal Genome: What the Tests Can and Cannot Tell You.”

At-home genetic tests (also called direct-to-consumer genetic tests) marketed on the Internet are becoming increasingly popular. Women are particularly vulnerable during pregnancy to sales pitches that play on a new mom’s fear and guilt. Companies that offer the tests say they can predict a baby’s future height or athletic ability, or can assess the future risk of cancer, diabetes, Parkinson disease, or obesity. The March of Dimes believes consumers should be very cautious before spending the money — and risking their privacy — on such tests.

Speakers at the luncheon include Dr. Jennifer Howse; Siobhan Dolan, MD, MPH, associate professor, Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, a faculty member of the Human Genetics Program at Sarah Lawrence College, and a genetics consultant to the March of Dimes; Lori B. Andrews, JD, Distinguished Professor of Law and director of the Institute for Science, Law and Technology at Chicago-Kent College of Law, and co-chairperson of the March of Dimes Bioethics Advisory Committee; and moderator Gretchen Carlson, co-host of FOX-TV’s “Fox & Friends.”

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March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

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