medicine and dna puzzle

Thoughts on Genetics and Medicine

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Yep, this doesn’t surprise me at all:

23andme questions

23andMe have questions they ask participants. They ask about sleep, diet, and genetic markers, like whether you can wiggle your eyebrows or curl your tongue. I love answering them and jump in to participate any time they have a study. Why?

medicine and dna puzzleI Love Data.

I love information about myself and others. I think someday every single person will have their genetic information. We’ll have it stored on cards that we keep in our wallets like we do blood type and organ donor cards. When we go to the hospital we’ll hand it over along with our insurance card.

I know that idea makes some people uncomfortable. They worry about knowing too much about their genome and how that will change their life. I understand that. But if you know your family tree fairly well, you probably already have a pretty good idea what diseases run in it. But think about this – what if doctors could tell that a medication would be likely to give you certain side effects? Maybe it wouldn’t be effective for you, or maybe far too effective. What if they could see that a medication might give you a rare side effect, like a terrible skin rash? Wouldn’t it be nice if they could see that ahead of time and make sure to prescribe something else? Did you know there are some medications that require genomic testing, just for these reasons? Right now it only makes sense if the side effect is bad for only a small population, but the drug is very safe for the majority of people.

Until that time though, I think it makes sense to take it into our own hands and get our DNA tested. For myself, there are a couple of drugs that popped up in my results, (more on those later) and I took note of those. I’m not on any of those medications now, but should they come up in the future, I know what they are. Personally, I find that comforting.

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