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Genetic tests have pluses; keep hospital costs down

The price of medical care

Regarding “Doctors curtail tests when they know costs” [April 23]:

Back in the early 1970s I practiced obstetrics and gynecology in New Jersey. The hospital decided to post lab costs on patients’ charts prior to the discharge summary being signed. I would go over the charges and found duplications with double charges and charges for tests not ordered or done. Went to the business office to get these corrected.

The hospital’s response was to stop posting the charges.

A. Bruce Munro, Ashburn

Genetic tests

“Genetic tests inform consumers, but experts doubt their value”[AnyBODY, April 23] was a fair assessment of the health value of having your DNA tested. What the columnist didn’t cover (perhaps because she didn’t get the test herself) is all the cool things you find out that aren’t vital to your health but are highly entertaining.

For example, my 23andMe test gave me clues . . .

. . . that my ancestral roots include a big chunk of Laplander, which might explain why I love cold weather (or not).

. . . that I’ve got a gene marker that enables me to taste the bitterness in Brussels sprouts and to smell asparagus in my pee.

. . . that the way I metabolize alcohol might explain why even one drink makes me feel terrible.

. . . and that I have a rare gene that makes me immune to the rotovirus, which finally explains why I’ve never had the stomach flu.

At a time when so many medical issues have so few answers, the DNA test at least gave me some interesting clues to my genetic mysteries.

Molly Sprouse, McLean



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