Ethical issues in psychiatric genetics.
ABSTRACT As knowledge grows regarding the genetic bases of psychiatric disorders, a variety of ethical issues will need to be confronted. Current evidence suggests that the etiology of most psychiatric disorders rests on a combination of multiple genes and environmental factors. As tests for the genes involved become more easily available, pressures will arise to use them for prenatal testing, screening of children and adults, selection of potential adoptees, and pre-marital screening. Common problems that will need to be addressed include popular misunderstanding of the consequences of possessing an affected allele, impact of knowledge of one's genetic make-up on one's sense of self, and the discriminatory use of genetic information to deny persons access to insurance and employment. Although most states have some legislation aimed at preventing discrimination, the laws' coverage is spotty and federal rules are lacking. Physicians may find that newly available genetic information creates new duties for them, including warning third parties who may share the patient's genetic endowment. And genetics research itself has raised questions about when to disclose information to subjects and their family members about the genes that are being studied, and how to define the subjects of the research when information is collected about family members other than the proband. Knowledge of these dilemmas is a first step to resolving them, something that the medical profession will need to attend to in the near-term. Neglect will lead others to set the rules that will control medical practice, including the practice of psychiatry, in the new world of genetic medicine.
SourceAvailable from: Marlene Oscar-Berman[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is present in 8% to 12% of children, and 4% of adults worldwide. Children with ADHD can have learning impairments, poor selfesteem, social dysfunction, and an increased risk of substance abuse, including cigarette smoking. Overall, the rate of treatment with medication for patients with ADHD has been increasing since 2008, with ≥ 2 million children now being treated with stimulants. The rise of adolescent prescription ADHD medication abuse has occurred along with a concomitant increase of stimulant medication availability. Of adults presenting with a substance use disorder (SUD), 20% to 30% have concurrent ADHD, and 20% to 40% of adults with ADHD have a history of SUD. Following a brief review of the etiology of ADHD, its diagnosis and treatment, we focus on the benefits of early and appropriate testing for a predisposition to ADHD. We suggest that by genotyping patients for a number of known, associated dopaminergic polymorphisms, especially at an early age, misdiagnoses and/or over-diagnosis can be reduced. Ethical and legal issues of early genotyping are considered. As many as 30% of individuals with ADHD are estimated to either have secondary side-effects or are not responsive to stimulant medication. We also consider the benefits of non-stimulant medication and alternative treatment modalities, which include diet, herbal medications, iron supplementation, and neurofeedback. With the goals of improving treatment of patients with ADHD and SUD prevention, we encourage further work in both genetic diagnosis and novel treatment approaches.Postgraduate Medicine 01/2014; 126(1):153-77. DOI:10.3810/pgm.2014.01.2735 · 1.97 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The advent of genetic testing for psychiatric conditions raises difficult questions about when and how the tests should be used. Development of policies regarding these issues may be informed in a variety of ways by the views of key stakeholders: patients, family members, healthcare professionals, and the general public. Here, we review empirical studies of attitudes towards genetic testing among these groups. Patients and family members show strong interest in diagnostic and predictive genetic testing, and to a considerable extent psychiatrists share their enthusiasm. Prenatal test utilization seems likely to depend both on parental views on abortion and the seriousness of the disorder. Parents show a surprising degree of interest in predictive testing of children, even when there are no preventive interventions available. Many persons report themselves ready to alter their lifestyles and plans for marriage and family in response to test results. Respondents also fear negative consequences, from discrimination to being unable to cope with knowledge of their "genetic fate." Empirical studies of beliefs about genetic testing suggest tests are likely to be embraced widely, but the studies have methodologic limitations, reducing the certainty of their conclusions, and indicating a need for further research with more representative samples.Psychiatry Interpersonal & Biological Processes 12/2011; 74(4):315-31. DOI:10.1521/psyc.2011.74.4.315 · 3.18 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Schizophrenia is a highly heritable, common mental illness, affecting 1% of the population worldwide. It is currently diagnosed using exclusive clinical criteria, and at present there are no genetic tests to facilitate this process. There are also no reliable means to predict who will develop the disease in later life. Genetic counselling uses crude estimates of risk based on family history, as the strongest predictive factor is having an affected first-degree relative. It has recently become apparent that large de novo deletions in the genome (copy number variants, or CNVs) can increase risk of the disease by tenfold or more. The purpose of this report is to assess whether these 'high risk' pathogenic CNVs might be useful in a clinical genetic or diagnostic setting. Routine use of laboratory techniques such as comparative genome hybridisation will reveal these de novo CNVs in standard investigative procedures for referrals to clinical genetics. The lack of disease specificity of CNVs presents problems for their use in diagnosis at present. Currently, there is also insufficient evidence in relation to schizophrenia to suggest that clear clinical benefit would be gained from learning one's genetic status pre-symptomatically. However, this is likely to change rapidly in the near future as knowledge of the genetic and environmental basis of schizophrenia accrues and increasingly effective measures for early intervention and risk reduction are developed.F1000 Medicine Reports 08/2009; 1. DOI:10.3410/M1-61