London, June 10 (ANI): A new study on Canadians has found that people with a family history of genetic disease are often discriminated by insurance companies and their relatives and friends.
With medical advances, individuals can now learn whether they carry the genetic risk for devastating diseases. But that knowledge could come at a price.
The researchers say that these powerful new technologies have caused fear about the misuse of genetic information including discrimination.
Study's lead authors Drs Yvonne Bombard and Michael Hayden, based at the University of British Columbia, looked at Canadians at risk of developing Huntington's disease, a degenerative brain disorder for which there is no cure or treatment to slow it.
They surveyed 167 people across Canada who had been tested for the Huntington mutation (83 had the mutation and 84 did not), and 66 people who were at risk for the disease but had chosen not to have the genetic test.
In total, 40 per cent of the respondents reported having experienced unfair treatment because of their risk of developing Huntington's disease, even though none had symptoms.
A family history of the disease, rather than the genetic test result, was the predominant reason they gave for discrimination.
The study is published on bmj.com. (ANI)