Thinking about Angelina

Writing in Forbes, David Kroll has a very thoughtful take on Angelina Jolie’s announcement that she had a preventative double mastectomy after learning that she was at exceptionally high risk for developing breast cancer. While taking nothing away from Jolie’s bravery in writing about her choice, Kroll raises concerns about health care access, gene patents, “certainty” in medicine, and the influence of celebrity (which could be both positive and negative in this case):

On the one hand, I am stunned by the bravery of this high-profile woman to not only undergo such a transformative surgery and then write about it in the nation’s newspaper of record less than three weeks later…On the other hand, I do worry that the ensuing publicity surrounding her announcement might evoke some magnitude of panic in women with breast cancer, particularly those who don’t have BRCA1/2 gene mutations or cannot afford to have the testing done…My primary concern is that some women with breast cancer may think that they are not being aggressive enough with their current treatment plan. – David Kroll

Genomycism: “Deflating the Genomic Bubble”

Genomycism – the unsubstantiated belief that the cataloging of the genomic sequence of an individual conveys useful understanding about their ancestry, current characteristics, and disease risk with high degrees of accuracy and predictive power.

An important policy forum article has appeared in the most recent issue of Science discussing the expectations for the benefits of genomics, the issues created when those expectations are unrealistic, overinflated, and over-hyped[1]. Continue reading “Genomycism: “Deflating the Genomic Bubble””

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