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Most People Want to Know the Risk of Getting Disease

January - 13 - 2011 

Researchers from Tufts Medical Center in Boston led a study of more than 1,400 people to determine if people would be willing to pay for a new blood test that would indicate the chances of developing a disease but would not help prevent the disease.  Subjects participated in an online survey that included scenarios with randomly generated details that varied by disease, risk of disease, and test accuracy.  The survey also determined respondents' willingness to pay for the test.  Most subjects said that they would be tested, though some said they would only have the test if it were free.  People who would not take even a free test tended to be older, female, with higher education, and to engage in risk-reducing behaviors like not smoking and using seat belts.  The study is published in the journal Health Economics.  Diseases included in the test focused largely on age-related diseases, such as diabetes, Alzheimer's, and heart disease.  Statistics show that the lifetime risk of diabetes for someone born in 2000 is about 33 percent for men and 40 percent for women.  In addition, for people without heart disease at age 50, about half of men and 40 percent of women will develop it later in life.  "The results suggest that most people prefer to take predictive tests even in the absence of direct treatment consequences--and that they are willing to pay reasonably large amounts for the opportunity," the authors wrote in the study.  "Our study thus adds to research indicating that people desire information for its own sake."

(c)Copyright 2011 Information, Inc.

The information contained in the article above does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the American Diabetes Association.

Wall Street Journal (01/11/11) Hobson, Katherine

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