Mind the risk
Traditionally, in the European context, genetic testing is carried out by health professionals such as physicians, nurses and genetic advisors. Health professionals request that the appropriate test be performed in the laboratory, and that the biological samples be collected and sent for interpretation of the test outcomes.
In recent years private genetics companies has started to offer their analysis services directly to citizens without a mandatory interaction with a health professional.
The direct-to-consumer genetic testing market is increasing and, according to the promoters of this service, can promote awareness about genetic disease and help people to play a more dynamic role in their health care.
However, without an adequate communication and without the guidance of a health professional, the average citizen may make important decisions about treatment and prevention based on wrong, incomplete, or misunderstood information.
The object of the Mind the Risk project is to directly interview the customers who directly undergo genetic testing in private companies, in order to obtain a profile of their orientation towards health and to get their possible cognitive, psychological and behavioral responses at the receiving of genetic information. Another aim is to monitor psychological and behavioural changes, as well as decision making modulations which occur in the long term.
The Mind the Risk project offers a multidisciplinary research program which involves notable European academic centres. Starting with the philosophical and conceptual frame about risk perception and moving towards empirical investigations into the management of the information regarding genetic risk and cognitive/behavioural effects, the aim is to achieve progress in the policy sphere, regular supervision, and help customers examine matters more closely and thereby allow them to make conscious decisions and reduce the risk of misunderstanding the outcomes of genetic testing.
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