Benefits of direct-to-consumer genetic testing

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The field of genetics is a field that is constantly growing. It was around 1996 when genetics began to leave the clinical field (BRCA test) to enter the market offering the direct-to-consumer genetic testing (DTC-GT for its acronym in English).

benefits genetic testing

Thanks to technological advances, there is an increasing number of genetic markers that can be associated with a phenotype (curly hair, diabetes, transport of vitamin A ...) expanding the knowledge, potential and impact of genetics in our society.

There are three main areas that are directly affected by DTC-GT results: changes in the Lifestyle, possible effects at the level emotional and support tool for professionals doctors.

To evaluate these aspects, we have relied on two articles that conducted a rigorous study on the impact that DTC-GTs have on people who consume them. (Read articles)

The first consists of a review of all the studies that were carried out in this regard until 2017, encompassing a total of 19 articles and 6672 participants evaluated.

Regarding the influence on Lifestyle of these individuals we can say that it has done it in a positive way. The 65% of them looked for information about how their lifestyle influenced their risk of developing diseases by taking action on it. These measures include: weight loss, reduction in the use of alcohol and tobacco (between 18% and 22% smokers eliminated tobacco from their life), physical exercise (14%), intake of vitamins (3.2% - 20.5%), reduction of intake fat ...

Once they knew their results, the 33% of the participants they shared their results with a Sanitary professional and 50% with their relatives and closest friends; showing little or no adverse effects (anxiety, anguish, worry...).

However, this article is very general. Various phenotypes are taken into account and impact assessment can be difficult or even confusing at times. For this reason we want to capture the impact that DTC-GT has on a study plus focused and recent. A study that only includes people with a high genetic predisposition To suffer venous thrombosis who were surveyed about the impact that receiving these results had on their lives (1244 individuals).

The majority of them they shared their results with other people. The 65% of the cases was done with their closest relatives and the 41% of the cases was discussed with a health professional whose recommendations focused on losing weight, exercising, wearing decompression stockings and quitting smoking. For 18% of the cases, they recommended aspirin intake as preventive treatment and the use of Warfarin or heparin after operations (17%). Likewise, for women, it was recommended to suspend or replace the use of hormonal estrogen contraceptives (they increase the risk of thrombi) with another type of contraceptive (15%) and for 5% of them, the use of heparin during pregnancy to avoid possible complications.

Of all the medical recommendations, 30% of people reported that they had increased their physical activity, 25% of them were taking measures to lose weight12% started using decompression stockings, 2% started preventive treatment, and 4% of the women changed or stopped using estrogen contraceptives as a preventive measure.

Regardless of medical recommendations, 57% out of 1244 individuals (including those who consulted with a medical professional and those who did not) reported a change in their daily habits.

healthy life style

One aspect that is quite worrying in the face of this type of results is the emotional impact adverse it may have on people. For this reason, this variable was also included in the study. The 81% of the cases confirmed that knowing their genetic predisposition to venous thrombosis had been beneficial as it has allowed you to change your lifestyle to reduce the likelihood of thrombotic episodes. Only 1% showed a dissatisfied response and the remaining percentage was insignificant before the results.

These data reflect the impact that DTC-GT has on society, confirming that a large number of people condition their life habits to reduce the risk of disease for which your genome has risk variants. Discover your risk variants with the DNA TEST of ADNTRO, or uploading your RAW DNA dataand change your lifestyle for your own benefit.

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