From the Individualizing Medicine conference in Minnesota —
Dr. Jeff Trent, formerly of the National Institutes of Health, and founder of TGen, the genomic research outfit, cited an interesting statistic this morning. Ten years ago doctors were asked whether they felt comfortable talking to their patients about genetics. Only one in ten said that they were. Okay, jump ahead a decade – from the mapping of the human genome to today. The survey was repeated….and last year the comfort level was the same. Only one in ten physicians had a comfort level communicating genetics. All the more reason for this conference. The last four hours had an underlying theme: education. Or as my communications colleagues call it, awareness. Topics here are focusing on the feasibility of whole genome sequencing, the costs, benefits and practicality. What we are hearing is that it definitely has its role and is already changing treatment in some cases… as well as the field of preventive medicine. Dr. Marc Williams of the Geisinger Health System just called genomics “a vast sea of truth” quoting Issac Newton. And in many cases we are just beginning swimmers.