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March of Dimes Editorial Luncheon Discusses Gene Tests

New York City — Tuesday, June 30, 2009

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On Tuesday, June 30, the March of Dimes National Communications Advisory Council will hold one of its biennial luncheons for New York-area national reporters on the topic of “Testing Your Personal Genome: What the Tests Can and Cannot Tell You.”

At-home genetic tests (also called direct-to-consumer genetic tests) marketed on the Internet are becoming increasingly popular. Women are particularly vulnerable during pregnancy to sales pitches that play on a new mom’s fear and guilt. Companies that offer the tests say they can predict a baby’s future height or athletic ability, or can assess the future risk of cancer, diabetes, Parkinson disease, or obesity. The March of Dimes believes consumers should be very cautious before spending the money — and risking their privacy — on such tests.

Speakers at the luncheon include Dr. Jennifer Howse; Siobhan Dolan, MD, MPH, associate professor, Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women's Health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, a faculty member of the Human Genetics Program at Sarah Lawrence College, and a genetics consultant to the March of Dimes; Lori B. Andrews, JD, Distinguished Professor of Law and director of the Institute for Science, Law and Technology at Chicago-Kent College of Law, and co-chairperson of the March of Dimes Bioethics Advisory Committee; and moderator Gretchen Carlson, co-host of FOX-TV’s “Fox & Friends.”

About March of Dimes
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. 

For the latest resources and health information, visit our websites marchofdimes.org and nacersano.org. To participate in our annual signature fundraising event, visit marchforbabies.org. If you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit our shareyourstory.org community to find comfort and support. For detailed national, state and local perinatal statistics, visit persistats.org. You can also find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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