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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 75-77

Ethical issues of predictive genetic testing for type 2 diabetes mellitus: Attitude of sindhi community

Department of Community Medicine, Government Medical College, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sanjeev Mohan Chaudhary
1/3, MIG-2, Dayanand Nagar, Jaripatka, Nagpur - 440 014, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jdmimsu.jdmimsu_189_19

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Background: With the increasing number of individuals affected with diabetes and the significant health-care costs of treatment, the emphasis on prevention is key to controlling the health burden of this disease. Several genetic and genomic studies have identified genetic variants associated with increased risk to diabetes. As a result, commercial testing is available to predict an individual's genetic risk. Although the clinical benefits of testing have not yet been demonstrated, it is worth considering some of the ethical implications of testing for this common chronic disease. Objectives: The objective of this study was to see the attitude of people regarding predictive testing for Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Materials and Methods: The study was carried out among 100 patients belonging to Sindhi community. Ethical approval was sought from the institutional ethical committee. Nondiabetic persons more than 40 years of age were included in the study. Patients were asked for their willingness for predictive genetic testing for T2DM, parental history of diabetes mellitus (DM), and certain questions related to the test, such as financial problems, communicating the risk to family and friends, and behavioral change in case of positive or negative test. Results: Majority of the patients were not willing for predictive genetic testing, though they were ready to get sugar testing done to know whether they really had DM. Twenty percent of the patients had a positive family history of DM. Patients said that a positive result of predictive testing would cause undue stress, and also affect the lifestyle of the patient as well as the entire family. As regards appropriate age for testing, patients opined that it would be better if it is done in childhood so that care could be taken for prevention, though the possibility of stigmatization or discrimination could not be ruled out. Conclusion: In general, the attitude of the study patients was negative with regard to the test, which was reflected from doubt regarding the necessity of the test, and risk of discrimination or stigmatization in case of a positive test. As new predictive genetic tests for common, complex diseases such as T2DM are developed and commercialized, it will be critical to the safe and appropriate use of these new applications to consider the potential ethical implications they raise and steps to prevent or ameliorate harms.

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