Wednesday, January 12, 2011

DNA testing - what can you really learn?

So now you can order your DNA test online and if you’re happy with the fact that the different tests vary widely in their assessment of your risk to disease, your response to drugs or whether your kids are likely to inherit something unspeakable, you can compare yourself to other family members - all for $199 but at this bargain basement price, there’s a  limit of 10 tests per person!

Yikes - who orders these things? 

Notwithstanding the recent advances in science and in genetic testing in particular, research in 'foetal origins' and epigenetics confirms that DNA is far from being the holy grail. Sure, your DNA can indicate a tendency towards a particular condition or a particular metabolic attribute, but we also know that the die is far from cast. For example, a recent study, showed that 18 genetic variants that individually increase risk of type 2 diabetes could not be used to identify which people had the condition and which did not.

It’s complicated - but there’s one thing we do know. Attention to all of the health-promoting measures that include fresh whole foods, regular exercise, no smoking, modest alcohol intake, reducing stress and avoiding environmental toxicity give an individual the very best chance that a particular genetic polymorphism or variation won’t rear it’s ugly head! At no time is this more important than before conception. Then, two prospective parents have the chance to ensure that by cleaning up their diets and lifestyles and ensuring their own physical and mental health in that critical 4-month period leading up to conception, their child will have the chance to experience his full genetic potential in the positive rather than the negative sense of the word!

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