While we may applaud the newfound medical protocols that come our way, I have two very distinct examples of what could be called the hi-brow and low-brow of recent discoveries. NPR had a story (thanks Carrie Price for sending my way) about a DIY DNA testing.

For a few hundred bucks and some spit you can receive a forecast about a variety of predictions for your individual health. We'll call this the high road. Now let's venture onto the Jerry Springer version of DNA medical outcomes. Yes, it's a "who's your Daddy truck". Folks, we are taking modern medicine to the people. Taking all the guesswork out of your nocturnal emissions......so to speak. Why wait for a talk show invite, when you can break out your plastic, offer up a swab and pray for the best?

The point of both articles is crystal clear. Aside from the convenience of both services, there's perhaps a moral question that's been raised by bigger brains than I. Just because we can, should we? For all the wonderful reasons why it could be good to know your future health patterns, how will we react to actually knowing so much about ourselves? If your child gets tested, (hopefully not for the "Who's your Daddy Truck), and you're armed with a certain set of predictables----would you ho-hum the results, or would you invest in a pre-emptive strike to make him/her more perfect? We give them plastic surgery if they sneeze the wrong way, what would we do if your child's health forecast was cloudy and not sunny? Perhaps the real question is "what would you be willing to do---and how far would you be willing to go?" 

 

Alonzo LaMont

alonzo@jhmi.edu


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