Wanna know what the newest trend in health-care is? genetic testing. Basically, companies provide a complete genetic profile for the consumer at the cost of several hundreds of dollars, and these test are supposed to predict which diseases the buyer is susceptible to. Oy vey! What will they think of next?

First off, why would anybody want or need to know this information? Why, so they can do something about it, say proponents. Yeah, yeah–interpret that to mean: so they can seek out the appropriate medical treatment. Is that what life is about? Call it what it is–a new and lucrative market to exploit people who are afraid of illness and death.

A doctor recently asked somebody I know, “Do you want to know when you are going to die?” I thought that was such a profound question. Do you? Does anybody? What a useless way to occupy space and time in one’s mind, thinking about that junk.

Anyway, according to some experts, genetic testing is a waste of money and tells people little more than they would know from studying family history. No kidding. Christine Patch, a genetic counselor at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and a member of Britain’s Human Genetics Commission, said, “My message is you are wasting your money.” The reality is that genes do not work in a linear fashion–gene A always causing result B. Instead, many genes work in a complex manner, “and their ultimate effect is is influenced by environmental factors in ways that are poorly understood.”

With a few exceptions, humans pretty much have every gene–it’s just what is expressed at any given time. Environmental factors, emotional factors, and psychological factors all influence gene expression. These are some of the things I’d like to see investigated in the field of genetics. Until this time comes, save your money and live your life; nobody really wants to know when it’s their time to go.

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