Genomics-based labeling and attribution: a case for integrating social sciences into personalized medicine research

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Abstract

As the field of genomics uncovers the etiology and pathophysiological mechanisms of disease, we will gain a greater understanding of the causes of disease, leading to preventive interventions, early diagnoses and new and improved treatments. Although understanding the specific roles of environment and genetics in disease onset and development will most likely improve health outcomes, the impact of this information for the individual and public remains to be seen. Understanding what factors influence individual and public perceptions and behavioral consequences related to genome-based disease labels and attributions will be critical to a successful transition for personalized medicine. To better understand the impact of genomic-based disease labeling and attribution, social scientists need to be involved in clinical genomics studies to assess the consequences of the use of and response to new personalized diagnoses and treatments.

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