Frequently Asked Questions About Genetic Counseling and Testing for Neurological Disorders

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Genetic Counseling and Testing for Neurological Disorders

How do I make an appointment or get more information about genetic testing? 

To request an appointment or for more information, please call 312.695.7950. Click here to have a nurse contact you.

What is genetic testing?

Genetic testing is a process used to identify genetic variants. The results of a genetic test can confirm a suspected genetic condition, or help determine a person’s chance of developing or passing on a genetic disorder. Understanding these results also helps researchers develop therapies to better treat diseases like movement disorders.

What is the difference between commercial genetic testing and research genetic testing?

In commercial genetic testing, the physician orders tests for genetic causes of neurologic disorders, and the genetic sample is sent to an accredited commercial lab to be tested. Commercial labs only test for genetic variants that are well described and validated.

The cost of commercial testing varies, but may be covered by your insurance. In research genetic testing, scientists will test for known as well as new, previously undescribed genes, and the genetic sample is tested in a research laboratory setting. Research testing may take longer than commercial testing, but is usually performed at no charge. Your team will recommend the best testing method for you.

How is genetic testing performed?

You will be asked to provide a DNA sample—usually blood or saliva.

Do I have to pay for genetic testing?

The cost of genetic testing varies depending on the method of testing, the genes tested and your insurance. If there are costs associated with your specific tests, our team will discuss those fees with you prior to testing.

Should I be tested?

A genetic counselor can help you determine how and if genetic testing may help you and your family. Genetic testing may be appropriate if you have:

  • Early-onset disease or unusual symptoms
  • Family members with a genetic disorder and if you want to know if you are a carrier of the gene variant
  • Been diagnosed with a genetic disorder and want to know the risk of passing it on to your children
  • Been diagnosed with Huntington’s disease or Wilson’s disease

What are the benefits of genetic testing?

The decision to have genetic testing can be difficult, but there are benefits. Many patients choose to be tested for a number of reasons, including:

  • Your results, either positive or negative, can provide a sense of relief from the uncertainty.
  • If you are considering starting a family, genetic testing can determine your risk of passing a disease on to your children.
  • If your results are positive, starting treatment (if available) as soon as possible may be beneficial.
  • An accurate diagnosis may enhance your treatment plan, which can lead to better outcomes.

What is the Biorepository Program?

You and your family members may be asked to donate blood or saliva as part of our Biorepository Program. This program allows DNA samples, along with other data, to be used to research your disease and to develop treatments aimed at improving quality of life or curing the disease. Your participation is completely optional.

How long will it take to get my results?

The length of time needed to identify the cause of your condition depends on many factors, including the genes tested. Your genetic counselor will discuss this time frame during your appointment. Generally results take between two weeks and two months.