Home > Prevention & Precautionary Steps For Seniors > Over The Counter Genetic Test Kits – Don’t Let Baby Boomers Fall For This Scam

Over The Counter Genetic Test Kits – Don’t Let Baby Boomers Fall For This Scam

Based on reports from the US Government Accountability Office, the FDA recently put a jinx on the widespread sale of over-the counter genetic test kits at major drugstore chains. Genetic test kits as a means of predicting disease have been sold on the Internet for some time, but government intervention and their reported findings indicate the companies hoping to go mainstream with these products are selling medically unproven disease predictions. The GAO studies also indicate they are not only jeopardizing the misuse of test results by consumers that can result in potentially meaningless worry, but are also using deceptive marketing tactics to sell them. Scientists, bio ethicists and genetic counselors are concerned that use of the tests as a predictor of disease is false because the onset of disease can only be determined by an in depth, diagnostic, medical screening. These tests are not as reliable as actually going to a doctor and being examined by a profession who knows your medical history. Assisted living facilities are concerned about the number of baby boomers that could be attracted to try these kits out. Assisted living facilities become aware of issues such as these to spread awareness and let their seniors know what scams not to fall for.

The test kits, cost anywhere from $20.00 to $999.00, and come with a vial and a shipping envelope. Buyers send a sample of their saliva to the company’s laboratory and receive their results online. The result report however, frequently costs significantly more than the test, depending on the type requested. The Washington Post recently reported one over-the-counter test claims to evaluate a propensity for developing medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and obesity; the likelihood of parenting a baby with cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease and other genetic disorders; and the possible reaction to caffeine, cholesterol-lowering drugs, blood thinners and other medications. In their undercover study, GAO found 10 egregious examples of deceptive marketing, including claims made by four companies that a consumer’s DNA could be used to create a personalized supplement to cure diseases. Two of these companies further stated that their supplements could “repair damaged DNA” or cure disease, even though experts confirmed there is no scientific basis for such claims.

Dna by *lXlAcidStormlXl on deviantART

Some companies tout the kits can screen for genetic markers of more than 70 diseases, including diabetes, prostate cancer and cystic fibrosis. Those companies note, “some markers have been researched more thoroughly than others, but scientific knowledge advances rapidly.” One company representative even fraudulently used endorsements from high-profile athletes to convince GAO’s fictitious consumer to purchase such supplements. Two other companies asserted that they could predict in which sports children would excel based on DNA analysis, a claim, experts characterize as “complete garbage.” Further, two companies told GAO’s fictitious consumer that she could secretly test her fiance’s DNA to “surprise” him with test results–though this practice is restricted in 33 states. Perhaps most disturbing, one company told a donor that an above average risk prediction for breast cancer meant she was “in the high risk of pretty much getting” the disease, a statement that experts found to be “horrifying” because it implies the test is diagnostic. Assisted Living communities try to prevent their seniors from getting concerned and exposed to such scams. They make sure that their seniors receive the proper medical care within their facilities. There is no shortcut for diagnosis and cures of disease, but you can assure yourself a peace of mind by joining a senior assisted living facility to spend your golden years.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Chicago and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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