DNA Testing for Screening
DNA Screening Tests Are Mostly Self-inflicted Terror
Majid Ali, M.D.
For healthful aging, focus on genes leads to two serious mistakes: (1) One blames one’s parents; and (2) one disempowers oneself. I recognized these two elements more then forty years ago. The language of genes is far too complex and vast to allow silly simple-minded notions of blaming any gene for t
his or that disease. Or for curing diseases by the bundle in gene replacement shops. For over forty years, I sought evidence that might invalidate my view and found none. I made a strong effort for this during several months of writing a long chapter entitled “Complementarity and Contrariety in Genetics” in the first volume of my 12-volume textbook entitled “Nature’s Preoccupation With Complementarity and Contrariety in Nature.”
My main point in my chapter on genetics was: Gene conversations are multi-level (up and down, forward and backward, sideways, and leapfrogging. Most important, gene cross-talks for preserving health and reversing disease change freely and rapidly in response to changes in their environment.
What can one learn from a DNA test (genetic testing) about healthful aging? Nothing. Will many people take this test? Yes. Why? Because whatever can be sold for a profit will be sold. And companies that can control TV, tadio, and newspapers will sell most.
DNA Test As a Tool of Terror
When I first read about genetic screening to determine the risk of various diseases, I knew it would unleash fear and anxiety at a massive scale and nothing good would come out of it. The word terror at that time had a different meaning. Now I consider it a tool of terror for several reasons. In this article, I address just one face of this terror: unreliability. For this I limit myself to The New York Times—many people consider what it prints as the gospel truth—which included the following in an article published on December 31, 2013 concerning the DNA test reliability:
“23andMe [name of a testing company] said my most elevated risks — about double the average for women of European ethnicity — were for psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis, with my lifetime odds of getting the diseases at 20.2 percent and 8.2 percent. But according to Genetic Testing Laboratories, my lowest risks were for — you guessed it — psoriasis (2 percent) and rheumatoid arthritis (2.6 percent).
“In the case of Type 2 diabetes, inconsistencies on a semantic level masked similarities in the numbers. G.T.L. said my risk was “medium” at 10.3 percent, but 23andMe said my risk was “decreased” at 15.7 percent
“For coronary heart disease, 23andMe and G.T.L. agreed that I had a close-to-average risk, at 26 to 29 percent, but Pathway listed my odds as “above average.”