Pediatric Ear Nose and Throat but Not Gene Specialists
Posted Oct 22 2008 6:18pm
In the Archives of Otolaryngolgy last month a questionnaire was sent to pediatric Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doctors. These physicians frequently evaluate things such as recurrent ear infections or even childhoodhearing loss.
A significant amount of this hearing loss can be attributed to genetics. Thissurveyintended to see how many ENT's used genetic testing, whether they were able to handle results as well as counsel properly.
Here's what they found
69% indicated that they use genetic testing of the connexin 26 (Cx26) gene (GJB2) as an initial test in their workup of prelingual sensorineural hearing loss
71% reported that they provide genetic counseling for their patients and their families
45% answered questions regarding recurrence risks incorrectly or stated that they did not know the correct response
The Sherpa Says: This is precisely why we need genetic counselors and geneticists. 45% is not a small number, but I was surprised it wasn't 75%. At a minimum we need a good curriculum in medical school which teaches the principles in this ever changing field. Too bad you can't just pick up genetics on the job. Trust me, you can't. I warn you to run away from any physician who states that they have!