The Food and Drug Administration has finally given the approval to the genetic test which can predict a person’s risk to develop a disease. The test, developed by 23andMe, can identify the risk of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, celiac disease, or others.
23andMe developed GHR tests (Genetic Health Risk) which can establish the individual risk of a person to have a disease by looking at certain genetic factors present in his genome. This might help people pay more attention to certain conditions, but they should know that the test has its limitations.
The test does not equal a diagnose
First of all, people need to know that the test only analyzes the risk of getting a disease, and it does not put a diagnose. Therefore, if the results come back positive regarding a certain risk, it is up to the person to go talk to a doctor and take all the necessary measures.
What the test does is scan a person’s DNA and look for mutations which lead to diseases. However, if you have a mutation, it doesn’t mean that you will end up having the disease. They only mean that you are more likely to have a certain disease than a person without that particular mutation. Therefore, take the results with a grain of salt.
The test assesses the risk of developing a genetic disease
There are ten diseases whose specific mutations the test can identify. They are Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, Alzheimer’s, celiac disease, primary dystonia, Factor XI deficiency, the type 1 of Gaucher disease, deficiency of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, hereditary hemochromatosis and thrombophilia, and Parkinson’s.
23andMe insisted on warning people that the results might turn out more relevant for certain groups of people, for instance those belonging to a particular ethnic group. The company performed most tests in Europe, so the results could be more relevant for white people than for others.
The test is also not completely foolproof. There is the risk that the test might indicate that a person has a more prominent risk, and that person might actually not have a high risk at all. This is why people are advised not to consider the results a diagnose. They are more like a guide, and they should go see a doctor and ask him for medical advice.
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