Genetic counselors: More drug pushers for the pharmaceutical industry?

What are genetic counselors?

Genetic counselors are health professionals with specialized graduate degrees and experience in the areas of medical genetics and counseling. Most enter the field from a variety of disciplines, including biology, genetics, nursing, psychology, public health, and social work.

Genetic counselors work as members of a healthcare team, providing information and support to families who have members with birth defects or genetic disorders and to families who may be at risk for a variety of inherited conditions. They identify families at risk, investigate the problem present in the family, interpret information about the disorder, analyze inheritance patterns and risks of recurrence, and review available options with the family.

Genetic counselors also provide supportive counseling to families, serve as patient advocates, and refer individuals and families to community or state support services. They serve as educators and resource people for other healthcare professionals and for the general public. Some counselors also work in administrative capacities. Many engage in research activities related to the field of medical genetics and genetic counseling.

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Research shows that of all the clinical factors such as age, sex, weight, general health and liver function that alter a patient's response to drugs, genetic factors are the most important. This information becomes even more crucial when you consider the fact that adverse reactions to prescription drugs are killing about 106,000 Americans each year- roughly three times as many as are killed by automobiles. This makes prescription drugs the fourth leading killer in the U.S., after heart disease, cancer, and stroke.

Only a small part of illnesses and diseases are contributed to genetics.