Impact of Genetic Testing and Family Health History Based Risk Counseling on Behavior Change and Cognitive Precursors for Type 2 Diabetes
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- Wu, R.R., Myers, R.A., Hauser, E.R. et al. J Genet Counsel (2017) 26: 133. doi:10.1007/s10897-016-9988-z
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Family health history (FHH) in the context of risk assessment has been shown to positively impact risk perception and behavior change. The added value of genetic risk testing is less certain. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) FHH and genetic risk counseling on behavior and its cognitive precursors. Subjects were non-diabetic patients randomized to counseling that included FHH +/− T2D genetic testing. Measurements included weight, BMI, fasting glucose at baseline and 12 months and behavioral and cognitive precursor (T2D risk perception and control over disease development) surveys at baseline, 3, and 12 months. 391 subjects enrolled of which 312 completed the study. Behavioral and clinical outcomes did not differ across FHH or genetic risk but cognitive precursors did. Higher FHH risk was associated with a stronger perceived T2D risk (pKendall < 0.001) and with a perception of “serious” risk (pKendall < 0.001). Genetic risk did not influence risk perception, but was correlated with an increase in perception of “serious” risk for moderate (pKendall = 0.04) and average FHH risk subjects (pKendall = 0.01), though not for the high FHH risk group. Perceived control over T2D risk was high and not affected by FHH or genetic risk. FHH appears to have a strong impact on cognitive precursors of behavior change, suggesting it could be leveraged to enhance risk counseling, particularly when lifestyle change is desirable. Genetic risk was able to alter perceptions about the seriousness of T2D risk in those with moderate and average FHH risk, suggesting that FHH could be used to selectively identify individuals who may benefit from genetic risk testing.