In a review editorial for the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, neurobiology researcher Steven Dubovsky from the University at Buffalo argues against the adoption of genetic tests in psychiatry. He calls on colleagues to resist the pressures to “appear scientific”and support industry marketing by critically examining any new genetic findings.
“Psychiatrists, whose work frequently involves ambiguous clinical problems, and who must often consider contradictory elements of patient presentations and avoid premature closure, can have a remarkably low tolerance for ambiguity, conflict, and delayed gratification when it comes to the latest laboratory study,” Dubovsky writes.
“The hope that pharmacogenetic testing will result in unambiguous ‘personalized psychiatry’ should not lead to quick adoption of technologies that have not yet been demonstrated to reliably predict a specific course or a need for a specific medication, the choice of which remains largely empirical.”
“Yet there is tremendous pressure to translate each new report of such associations to our patients, not only from our own need to appear ‘scientific’ and from industry marketing of proprietary tests, but from the marketing of ideas by thought leaders with an intellectual attachment to the latest conceptualization of genetic causality.”
Dubovsky, S.L., 2016. The Limitations of Genetic Testing in Psychiatry.Psychotherapy and psychosomatics, 85(3), pp.129-135. (Full Text)