Get free help preparing your taxes from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. Find a location


AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy
Bob Dylan Talks!


Military and Veterans Discount


Rewards for Good Sweepstakes


Introducing RealPad by AARP


AARP Auto Buying Program

Download the ipad App



Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!


AARP Games - Play Now!


Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.


Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.



Heart Disease


Most Popular


Over-the-Counter Genetic Tests: Buyer Beware

The results can be horrifyingly wrong

Sketchy science

Risk estimates from one person's DNA also differed greatly depending on which genetic company was providing the results. One of the faux consumers, for example, was told by different companies that he had a below average, average and above average risk for prostate cancer and hypertension.

The American College of Medical Genetics and the Food and Drug Administration have published statements reflecting their concerns about these tests.

Genetic tests for many diseases are based on 'limited scientific information, and may not yet provide valid or useful results.' —CDC

In March an FDA advisory panel said consumers could be easily misled by genetic testing and urged federal regulators to make many genetic tests available to consumers only with the blessing of doctors. The FDA isn't required to follow recommendations of advisory panels, but it often does.

The Federal Trade Commission, which protects consumers against fraudulent claims, agrees, advising consumers not to be pulled in by advertising that suggests these tests can measure the risk of developing a disease, or ads that claim to offer special supplements or foods to ward off developing disease. One direct-to-consumer genetic company representative told a government undercover investigator, for example, that the company's supplements had "cured the arthritis in his knees and prevented him from getting high blood pressure and high cholesterol."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specifically advises consumers not to seek out genetic tests without the support of a doctor, because it says the tests for many diseases are based on "limited scientific information, and may not yet provide valid or useful results."

But those messages haven't necessarily made their way into homes.

Next: Hold off on sending DNA samples and talk to your doctor. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members get exclusive points offers from Walgreens, Duane Reade and

member benefit aarp hear usa

Members can save 20% on hearing aids with the AARP® Hearing Care Program provided by HearUSA.

AARP membership discount Man trying on eyeglasses at optometrists smiling

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at LensCrafters.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points