Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2017 - 2

CHECKING IN EDITOR╩╝S NOTE

Inquiring minds
Can we know too much about ourselves?

I

come from a line of inquisitive thinkers:
journalists, educators and engineers dot
the family tree. While I lean more journalist than engineer, people in many different roles question and examine the world
around them and want to know all the details to help put together the big picture. I
have a tendency to want to know everything
that's going on, and this curiosity suits me
well for my job.
However, a recent development in the
availability of genetic testing is causing me
to question the extent of my curiosity. I'm
realizing there are some things I don't want
to know about myself. In April, the U.S. Food
and Drug Administration allowed marketing
for the first time of the 23andMe Personal
Genome Service Genetic Health Risk tests
for 10 diseases or conditions. These are the
first FDA-authorized, direct-to-consumer
tests that provide information on a person's
genetic predisposition to certain conditions.
In other words, I could find out I'm genetically predisposed to developing late-onset
Alzheimer's, among other things, without a
doctor's involvement.
The FDA says genetic risk is just one part
of the whole picture-it doesn't definitely
mean a person will develop a disease. Despite

Spring 2017 | Vol. 25 No. 2

that, I don't think I'm ready to learn what
conditions I may develop.
But I would want to know what my genes
reveal about the medications that could work
best for me. That's where pharmacogenomics come into play. (See "The right dose at the
right time," on page 18.) This is the study of
how genes affect a person's response to drugs,
and a simple test can help a clinician identify
which drug will work best for a patient.
Consider the dozens of ADHD medications on the market. A common approach is
for a patient to try one for several months
and monitor the results. And if it doesn't
work, it's on to the next medication, while
he or she "loses" a semester-or longer-at
school. What if that patient could start with
the most effective medication first?
Advancements in medicine are giving patients more information than ever. For those
of us with inquiring minds, it's a matter of
defining what information will improve the
quality of our lives and satisfy our curiosity.

AMANDA BERTHOLF
magazine@childrenshospitals.org

2

CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL S TODAY Spring 2017

Art Direction and Design
Eric Gapsch
Deanna Yesko
Contributors
Christine Bush
Darcie Reeson
Denise Taylor
childrenshospitals.org/cht
Ben McClanahan
Natalia Pelayo
Natalie Webster
Editorial Advisory Council
Paul Dworkin, M.D.
Rick Majzun, FACHE
Wendy Sue Swanson, M.D., M.B.E.
Kelly Wolfe
Karen Wolfson

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Managing Editor
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Children's Hospitals Today is published
quarterly by the Children╩╝s Hospital
Association. Copyright 2017. This
magazine may not be reproduced
in whole or in part without the
publisher's written permission.

A LOOK BACK AT CHT
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icon in this issue and
throughout the year for
special content.

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2017

Contents
Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2017 - Cover1
Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2017 - Cover2
Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2017 - Contents
Children's Hospitals Today - Spring 2017 - 2
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