View Poll Results: Would you like to know your chances of getting a disease?

19. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes

    14 73.68%
  • No

    4 21.05%
  • Other

    1 5.26%
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Thread: Knowing your likelihood of getting a disease?

  1. #1

    Default Knowing your likelihood of getting a disease?

    Saw this on our (Aust') version of 60 Minutes the other night.
    Article and Interview here.

    Genetic research has come considerably far in the past few decades, having now reached the point where they can pinpoint certain genes that cause particular features within our own body, including the development of disease and ill-health. Essentially, you can send your DNA off for a test (for a hefty price o_O) and they can determine that likelihood of you developing a certain disease in your lifetime, anything from Alzheimers, to cancer and heart disease.

    I guess this begs the biggest question, would you want to know? Keep in mind that it's all done in likelihood, and that you may not actually get any of them, or you may develop a few of them.

    I personally would do the test on the basis that it's a not a window into the future per se, but gives you a largely general idea about what could be in store for you. Whether the results come back optimistic or cynical, I may find some comfort in knowing that I could prevent it, or at the very least build up some defences today so I'm less susceptible in the future.

  2. #2


    I have to say it would be nice to have an idea of what could be waiting for you in your future so you could prepare in the present by taking health precautions or whatever.

  3. #3


    Of course I'd want to know.

    I'd want to know when it's high time to skydive without a parachute!

  4. #4


    Quote Originally Posted by Dawes View Post
    Of course I'd want to know.

    I'd want to know when it's high time to skydive without a parachute!
    "Impact in ten seconds, pull the chute!"

    "I'll be dead in five, bitch! Yeee-haww!!"

  5. #5


    We must balance investing in the future with living it up right now. I mourn the things that are no longer as fun as they once were, like clubbing, or Pee Wee's Playhouse, or TOS. On the other hand, it is nice to think I can have a happy future.

    Obviously I would live differently with the expectation of a long or short future. Knowing my risk factors is not perfect prescience but goes a long way.

  6. #6


    I think if the test came back with some frightening results that I would spend my life agonizing about it and worrying. I don't think it would make me any happier to know that I have x chance of getting condition y.

  7. #7


    I would definitely like to know. It wouldn't be something to worry your head off about, but you can make basic lifestyle changes to ensure your health. Say if your highly likely to develop a certain type of cancer. You'd be more inclined for regular checks to ensure you catch it early. Preventive medicine is the most important medicine.

  8. #8


    I said other. I'd rather live without knowing, as the famous saying goes; "Ignorance is bliss."

    On the other hand, if I knew I was predisposed to a certain genetic disease and I was ready to have children with a partner then I'd very much want to know the chances of passing this disease onto my children. I find it very immoral to deliberately have children if there's a high chance of passing on debilitating diseases.

  9. #9


    There's a thing as TOO much knowledge, and I think we're far into this territory here.

    There are positive sides. For example, if you're more likely to catch cancer or Alzheimer's or something, you can change your lifestyle, eat healthier or write down your last will before you can't even remember what you own and who the people are that constantly orbit around you.
    On the other hand, the test determines the probability of getting a disease. It does not tell you that you will get the disease, or when! It's like a lottery. The probability of winning is like 1 in 140 million, yet - on average - someone rakes in a few millions every 2-3 weeks. So people play. But do you really want to know your odds in the lottery of life? From a rational point of view, no one should play the lottery (your expected return is negative!), yet people do play. But if someone tells you that you have a 70% chance of getting Alzheimer's later in your life...then what? Are you going to life the rest of your life worried sick about that? Are you gonna jump off a bridge because you prefer making losing your life over losing your mind? Or do you hope the 30% probability of not getting Alzheimer's is good enough for you?

    Besides, nature's way of evolution is a tial-and-error method. Interfering with that by only allowing those specimens of the human race who we regard as preferable or 'perfect' to reproduce is likely to alter the outcome of evolution. Who knows...cancer may some day prove useful for some kind of antidote so a yet unknown disease, but if we eradicate it now, we may see our race die in the future.


  10. #10
    Butterfly Mage


    i voted yes since most diseases can have their effects mitigated to at least some degree wwith behavioral changes and the right medicines. For example, if you are more likely to get diabetis, you can start having a healthy diet in your 20s so that you won't get the disease until much later in life.

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