How can consumers in STANFORD be sure a genetic test is valid and useful?
Before undergoing genetic testing, it is important to be sure that the test is valid and useful. A genetic test is valid if it provides an accurate result. Two main measures of accuracy apply to genetic tests: analytical validity and clinical validity. Another measure of the quality of a genetic test is its usefulness, or clinical utility.
Analytical validity refers to how well the test predicts the presence or absence of a particular gene or genetic change. In other words, can the test accurately detect whether a specific genetic variant is present or absent?
Clinical validity refers to how well the genetic variant being analyzed is related to the presence, absence, or risk of a specific disease.
Clinical utility refers to whether the test can provide information about diagnosis, treatment, management, or prevention of a disease that will be helpful to a consumer.
All laboratories that perform health-related testing, including genetic testing, are subject to federal regulatory standards called the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) or even stricter state requirements. CLIA standards cover how tests are performed, the qualifications of laboratory personnel, and quality control and testing procedures for each laboratory. By controlling the quality of laboratory practices, CLIA standards are designed to ensure the analytical validity of genetic tests.
CLIA standards do not address the clinical validity or clinical utility of genetic tests. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires information about clinical validity for some genetic tests. Additionally, the state of New York requires information on clinical validity for all laboratory tests performed for people living in that state. Consumers, health providers, and health insurance companies are often the ones who determine the clinical utility of a genetic test.
It can be difficult to determine the quality of a genetic test sold directly to the public. Some providers of direct-to-consumer genetic tests are not CLIA-certified, so it can be difficult to tell whether their tests are valid. If providers of direct-to-consumer genetic tests offer easy-to-understand information about the scientific basis of their tests, it can help consumers make more informed decisions. It may also be helpful to discuss any concerns with a health professional before ordering a direct-to-consumer genetic test.
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Save Money on Homeownership in STANFORD
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President Obama and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro visited Phoenix, Arizona this afternoon to put a spotlight on the recovering housing sector.
Restoring security to homeownership has always been one of the President's top economic priorities, and the results are clear -- the housing market has greatly improved since President Obama took office.
The President’s push for new consumer protections and tough enforcement on abuses have given Americans more confidence in investing in homeownership:
Home sales are up.
Home building has more than doubled since 2009.
Home values have risen for the past three years.
But there's more work to do. Mortgages need to be more accessible and affordable for creditworthy families.
That's why today, at Central High School in Phoenix, the President announced a responsible reduction in the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) Mortgage Insurance Premium program. The Federal Housing Administration will reduce annual mortgage insurance premiums by 0.5 percentage points, from 1.35 percent to 0.85 percent.
The President’s new proposal to reduce the fees associated with buying a home would help first-time homebuyers save an average of $900 on their annual mortgage payment. More people buying homes would also strengthen the market, helping everyone who already owns a home.
In Phoenix today, President Obama explained that homeownership was a dream that should be open to all Americans. Not only will the President’s actions help numerous families realize the American Dream and get a place they can finally call home, but millions of families will save billions of dollars in mortgage payments in the coming years, helping to support and stabilize the housing market recovery.