May 3, 2013

Recap of Twitter Chat on Prenatal Genetic Tests

By Center for Individualized Medicine

Mayo experts from Obstetrics, Genetic Counseling and Bioethics teamed up yesterday with reporter @LizSzabo of the USA Today for a 1-hour Twitter Chat about the capabilities, limitations and future directions of prenatal screening in the genomics era. Can/should parents get prenatal screening? When? What can they do if they receive positive results for an inherited condition? For many, there are more questions than answers. Our team set out to help clear the fog.

Chatter focused on application and implications of genetic screening for down syndrome. Topics bounced from the ethical quandries surrounding prenatal screening -- sex selection concerns, etc. -- to the fact that an estimated 99 percent of people with down syndrome report being happy with their lives, according to one contributor.

Among the interesting upshots of the 1-hour chat was the emphasis on the need for counseling and education throughout the genetic screening process -- preferably from trained professionals such as Mayo's own @JessicaBalcom, a genetic counselor who works with obstetrics and gynecology. Balcom's Tweet just about sums it up -- empower people make their own decisions, and then provide the support they need to see it through.

Another interesting comment came from Mayo Clinic's @MyraWickMD of Ob/Gyn, who remarked that more Mayo patients opt for prenatal screening than on either coast.

 View the full "Chat on prenatal genetic tests" on Storify

Thanks to USA Today Health/Wellness Online Producer Cathy Payne for archiving the chat and sharing the link. Thanks to Liz for hosting and to all who participated in the chat.

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