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Huntington's disease: do future physicians and lawyers think eugenically?
|Published in||Clinical Genetics. 2003, vol. 64, no. 4, p. 327-338|
|Abstract||The availability of presymptomatic and prenatal genetic tests could give rise to societal pressures on persons at risk for Huntington's disease (HD). The objective of this study was to identify future lawyers' and physicians' views on eugenics and genetic testing for HD. Five-hundred and ninety-nine Swiss law students and advanced medical students from 11 courses received teaching about HD and patient autonomy. They filled out questionnaires after having seen an audio/video recording of an interview with an HD mutation carrier. Participation rates were 68-97%. Attitudes of future lawyers and physicians were significantly different for most questions: 73.2% of law students vs 39.4% of medical students agreed that society should do everything possible to diminish the frequency of HD, including non-governmental pressure on carriers to undergo systematic genetic testing and recommendation of sterilization; 94% of all students agreed to the systematic proposal of prenatal testing to all women at risk; and 83.4% of medical students, but only 40.3% of law students, agreed that the wishes of a person at risk not to have her/himself and future children tested must be entirely respected. More education is needed to discourage eugenic pressures and discrimination of persons at risk of HD and other genetic diseases.|
|Keywords||Adult — Attitude of Health Personnel — Attitude to Health — Eugenics — Genetic Screening/psychology — Humans — Huntington Disease/psychology — Lawyers — Questionnaires — Social Control, Informal — Students, Medical|