With the continuing advancement in our knowledge of genetic sciences, it is now becoming highly accessible to truly personalize health care and health advice. This growing genetic data has disrupted the health and wellness industries, and is now paving a way for a new era of personalized health, heavily incorporating preventative medicine.
Genetic science is improving our knowledge of the human body, at a dramatic fast pace. It is transforming the way we approach health care and even impacting on how we live our lives. It is now very easy, and relatively cheap to be able to assess hundreds of an individual’s genes. Non-invasive, swab testing and fast, cheap next generation DNA sequencing now offers extremely accurate results, as high as 99.97%. The information that can be discovered is vast, and can reveal an individual’s metabolic functions, their relationships with micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants), their ability to detoxify from external exposures (pesticides, pollution etc) and can determine their predispositions to excessive weight and the best methods to lose weight, unique to their metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. Genetic testing can now reveal which drugs and medications the body can metabolise and breakdown, and which it cannot.
This information is vital for prescribers around the world, to ensure medication efficacy and safety. When prescribing potent drugs, such as antipsychotics or chemotherapy agents, this truly is valuable and potentially life-saving information. These applications can no longer be ignored and there is a shift across the globe for individuals to undergo genetic testing before undergoing treatment regimes. The real changes that we see with the birth of genetic testing comes with the rapidly growing banks of genetic data that allow us to predict a person’s genetic risk to many diseases, including several types of cancers, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Once we can establish an accurate genetic risk to a disease that also has a strong overlying environmental risk, simple and easy preventative health measures can really be implemented to ensure that the overall risk is minimized.
Many of the suggested changes are easily incorporated into an individual’s lifestyle, often with little or no cost. This is changing the face of preventative health and is a game-changer in making the specialty more credible and therefore more acceptable to health providers. When performed under the guidance of medical professionals, can really help to improve outcomes in health and disease management. This is one strategy in which we can neutralize inequalities in healthcare.
Dr Michael Barnish, MBChB.
Head of Genetics & Nutrition, REVIV Global Ltd. Manchester, UK