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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Study Finds Family History Intervention Stirs Communication

A web-based family health history intervention was useful in prompting patients to talk with their relatives about health conditions in their families and to collect their family histories — indicating that such assessments may influence patients’ understanding of risks, which could motivate subsequent behavior, a study led by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher found.

The study, published online in the journal Preventive Medicine, found that patients who had not talked to family members about their family histories were more likely to communicate with relatives after they received information about familial risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other common chronic conditions. Yet they were not more likely to discuss their family histories with health care providers, researchers found.

Sharing information on risk with family members and health clinicians is considered a positive step in patients taking the initiative to improve their health.

Dr. Catharine Wang, associate professor of community health sciences at BUSPH and lead author of the study, said the findings suggest that “new efforts are needed to encourage greater sharing of family history information,” particularly with health care providers.

To read more about the study, go to: