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23 And Me

Doctors and the FDA want me to go blind.

There's a 1-in-4 chance that I will go blind. Macular degeneration occurs in many people over 50, and thus in a couple of decades, it's going to impact me. I'm also at a higher-than-average risk for glaucoma. I know about my disease risk because of a valuable service, 23 And Me.

23 And Me has analyzed the correlation between genotypes and diseases. Why do people with my genotype face a higher risk of eye diseases? No one knows, yet, but the correlations are undeniable. (I have especially blue eyes, which is part of the problem.)

Using this information, I'm zealous about wearing sun glasses, taking fish oil, and eat blueberries. I also regularly follow developments in macular degeneration research, looking for other ways to mitigate the disease.

Here, incidentally, is a screen cap from my 23 And Me profile:  23 And Me Disease Risk

Yet the Food and Drug Administration, which ostensibly exists to protect publich health, wants to outlaw 23 And Me. Doctors and the American Medical Associate have lobbied the FDA for 23 And Me's demise:

We urge the Panel to offer clear findings and recommendations that genetic testing, except under the most limited circumstances, should be carried out under the personal supervision of a qualified health care professional, and provide individuals interested in obtaining genetic testing access to qualified health care professionals for further information.

Why would they want to deny me low-cost access to my genetic information? 23 And Me does not give medical advice. Instead, they have merely educating me about my risks. 

They want me to go blind. Well, that's only half-right. They'll let me keep my eyesight if I line their pockets. Otherwise, doctors don't care.

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