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Perception of predictive testing for Huntington's disease by young women: preferring uncertainty to certainty?
  1. M Decruyenaere,
  2. G Evers-Kiebooms,
  3. H Van den Berghe
  1. Centre for Human Genetics, UZ Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium.

    Abstract

    Opinions on the implications of predictive testing for Huntington's disease were evaluated in a group of 169 women (aged 21-35 years) with interest in psychosocial issues, but with no special pre-existing knowledge or training in genetics. Predictive testing for Huntington's disease (HD) is considered to be a test case for predictive testing for other late onset diseases, monogenic as well as multifactorial disorders. In the hypothetical situation of having a 50% risk for developing HD, about half of the group expressed interest in a predictive test. As to the question of giving results of predictive tests to third parties, the group would be very reluctant to inform the employer or the insurer, but not their own family. Prenatal testing for late onset diseases was considered acceptable by half of the women; only one quarter of the total group would terminate a pregnancy of a child that might develop a late onset disease. The assessment of attitudes towards predictive testing was carried out within the context of a global evaluation of perceived advantages and disadvantages of genetic counselling. The attitudes towards predictive testing were systematically associated with perceiving 'having more certainty about the future' as an advantage of genetic counselling and with rejecting 'knowing everything in advance' as a disadvantage.

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