Lifelong Health Benefits of Mandatory Genetic Screenings

analytical Essay
1481 words
1481 words

Since their development and introduction to the field of medicine more than a century ago, genetic screenings have become incorporated in many fields of healthcare, including reproductive health and cancer prevention. Genetic screening is a method of identifying genetic disorders through the study of an individual’s DNA. They can be used to determine predisposition for various disorders such as Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, and sickle cell anemia. Genetic screenings inform individuals about their state of health and can help them make efficient choices in regard to disease treatments and prevention; however they have not gone without controversy. Many feel that such screenings can cause stigma and discrimination against individuals who have unfavorable genetic characteristics. Despite such social setbacks, mandatory screenings with anonymous data released to the public can help benefit both individuals and public health. Genetic screenings are often conducted in order to detect genotypes linked to greater likelihood of particular diseases; hence they can lead individuals to make informed decisions about their own health care and the health of their potential offspring. Screenings are actually quite common among most newborns and can lead to immediate treatment of disorders such as hypothyroidism and phenylketonuria (Natowicz and Alper, 1991). In fact, nationwide mandatory screenings for phenylketonuria among newborns since the 1960s has led to the effective elimination of the disease, which is known for causing seizures and delayed mental development (Natowicz and Alper, 1991). Another disease known for being successfully detected is Tay-Sachs disease, which can lead to a breakdown of the nervous system and death; though there are... ... middle of paper ... ...oints-genetic-variation-that-raises-risk-of-serious-complication-linked-to-osteoporosis-drugs/. Hodge A., 2004, “Ethical Issues Concerning Genetic Testing and Screening in Public Health” in American Journal of Medical Genetics, 66-70. Markel H., 1992, “The Stigma of Disease: Implications of Genetic Screening” in The American Journal of Medicine, 209-215. Natowicz M. and Alper J., 1991, “Genetic Screenings: Triumphs, Problems, and Controversies” in Journal of Public Health Policy, 475-491. Sheth, K., 2010, "Tay-Sachs disease” in PubMed Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Phillips K., Veenstra D., Ramsey S., Van Bebber S., and Sakowski J., 2004, “Genetic Testing and Pharmacogenomics: Issues for Determining the Impact to Healthcare Delivery and Costs” in The American Journal of Managed Care, 425-432.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that genetic screenings have become incorporated in many fields of healthcare, including reproductive health and cancer prevention.
  • Explains that genetic screenings can lead to immediate treatment of disorders such as hypothyroidism and phenylketonuria, and tay-sachs disease.
  • Explains that utilizing genetic screening, individuals and doctors can target health disorders more quickly and efficiently.
  • Explains that genetic screening can help determine health issues faster in regions where certain health disorders are more prevalent among ethnic groups, such as in the ashkenazi jewish community.
  • Opines that genetic screenings can lead to social stigma against those with genetic disorders despite their benefits for individual and public health.
  • Argues that mandatory genetic screenings with public results may lead to a "genetic holocaust", similar to when hitler attempted to lead human evolution to favor fair-pigmented people.
  • Explains that even if stigma against ethnic groups does not arise from genetic screening, individual patients may experience high levels of stress due to the results of the screenings.
  • Argues that making genetic screenings mandatory will lead to a more informed public when it comes to personal health and family planning, as well as better medical understanding of various genetic disorders.
  • Cites atkin, k., eskenazi, and etkin's article, "ethnicity and the politics of the new genetics: principles and engagement."
  • Cites hodge, markel, natowicz, alper, and sheth.
  • Explains that genetic testing and pharmacogenomics: issues for determining the impact to healthcare delivery and costs, in the american journal of managed care, 2004.
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