Genomic and biological risk profiling: from medicalization to empowerment

Mats Hansson, Karim Raza, M Falahee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Genomic risk profiling is developing rapidly in many disease areas as part of a growing concern to stratify medical intervention and prevention in accordance with individual characteristics. Within the Mind the Risk project we have studied perceptions of risk and predictive testing both for patients and individuals at risk of developing RA in the future.

We discuss some of the results here in relation to the pros and cons of risk prediction. On the one hand, providing information about personal risk may be seen as an aspect of medicalization where healthy individuals are labelled as ‘at risk’ and therefore responsible for taking preventive actions. On the other hand, it may provide helpful information that will enable autonomous health related decision-making. Moreover, there is a risk that preventive testing and treatment may be requested and used more by some groups in society than others. Such a development risks increasing differences in health between different groups.

For RA, early intervention is associated with improved outcomes, but predictive approaches need to be accompanied by appropriate educational and psychological support. Based on work by McAllister et al. we will suggest a framework of empowerment to support the development of personalized medicine and predictive testing in order to evade the pitfalls of medicalization and loss of autonomous control.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEthical, Social and Psychological Impacts of Genomic Risk Communication
EditorsUlrik Kihlbom, Mats Hansson, Silke Schicktanz
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780429341038
ISBN (Print)9780367356699
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2020


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