EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

A blog for medical students, faculty and librarians about their use of evidence based medicine, clinical literature, Web 2.0, sources and search strategies

Educational Sites: Cribsheets from Seed Magazine, Personal Genomics

Starting in 2005, Seed Magazine has published an interesting, practical, factual set of “cribsheets” which are designed to be quick reference cards for non-scientists seeking to learn more about a variety of contemporary scientific subjects, phenomena or processes. The latest in this series is the November 2007 Cribsheet #12 – Genetics which is just what this librarian needs to know more about, as I’ve been waiting to do a blog posting about the recent roll-out of personal DNA-typing and analysis services.

There has been a river of digital ink pouring out of the health care and business-of-health care blogs in the last 60 days, reporting on the advent of for-profit companies who, for a fee, will take a sample of an individual’s cells to then analyze their unique DNA “footprint” to screen for genetic susceptibilities for a variety of inherited diseases. (You may call me old-fashioned but I’m not convinced yet that I need to know this information). Also factor in how porous the protection of individual health records required by federal standards written into the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) in the U.S. has proven to be… suffice to say, “Let the buyer beware“.

The desire to write about 23 and Me, Knome, DNA Direct, Navigenics, HelixHealth exists, but being a bit of a chicken-hearted soul, I don’t want a smack-down from others in the blogosphere more astute on these matters. So I am (chickenly) waiting for some of the geneticists and epidemiologists that I work with to inform me on how this newly-available information may affect the people who “consume” that information and apply it to their lives. It is about treatment decisions, after all.

Let’s move on.

Courtesy of Seed Magazine – thank you! – here is a list of all Cribsheet titles published thus far:

It’ll be great to have these handy guides as I journey upstairs to the Medicine Bookstacks to read more in the Genetics textbook section… see you in about 3 years 😉


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