Skip to main content
Home » Nutrition and Heart Health » Giveaway: Genetic Testing Is Making Improvements in Patient Outcomes
Nutrition and Heart Health

Giveaway: Genetic Testing Is Making Improvements in Patient Outcomes

Personalized medicine — sometimes called precision medicine — is a simple concept. Todd LePine, M.D., a board-certified specialist in integrative functional medicine and Global ambassador for Dnalife, describes it as “realizing in the clinical context that each person is unique. They have different personalities, family histories, symptom lists — and genetics.”

Specializing in patient “you”

Although in many ways medicine has always been personal, modern technology is driving a push to avoid broad solutions that don’t take a patient’s individual traits into account. In fact, the personalized medicine market is predicted to top $3 trillion by 2025.

One of the most effective tools in personalized medicine is DNA testing. “I call it lifting the hood,” Dr. LePine says. “If your car is making a noise, you’re not really going to know what’s going on until you lift the hood of the car. That’s what genetic testing does — it opens the hood of the car to your body in a very unique way that allows you to personalize your diagnosis and treatment.”

A bit about SNPs

Dr. LePine believes these genetic tests can improve patient outcomes. “The type of DNA testing that we’re doing here is what are called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs, usually pronounced ‛snips),” he explains, “a small variation of the DNA codes. An example of using DNA testing to improve outcomes is the genetics of detoxification pathways in the body. When you look at medications, they come with a listing of side effects, a lot of which are related to people not being able to metabolize various medications normally. One of the panels that I’ll order checks for some of the more common drugs, and, based upon a person’s genetics, whether or not those drugs can be used safely, or if you have to decrease the dosage, or if you should never use them at all.”

Genetic testing offers many other powerful insights into an individual patient’s health, now and in the future. Aside from the deep drug detoxification pathway SNPs, tests that look for the APOE e4 genotype, for example, can quantify a patient’s risk for developing heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease, and give them and their doctor a chance to discuss lifestyle changes that might prevent those developments. “Just having these genetic variations does not mean that you’re doomed by any means,” Dr. LePine notes. “I always tell my patients, ‘your DNA is not your destiny.’”

Focused and targeted

Most people are familiar with genetic testing through films and TV shows, or direct-to-consumer labs that advertise genetic testing — but Dr. LePine warns patients against using them.

“Direct to consumer genetic testing labs are not a very good idea. They don’t understand how it all fits together. They check a lot of different genetics, some of which have clinical relevance and some of which we don’t even know if they have clinical relevance. The problem is the signal to noise ratio. There’s so much information you don’t know what to do with it.”

By contrast, genetic panels ordered by a physician are more focused and thus more valuable to the patient — a value certain to increase. “Science is always continually growing,” Dr. LePine notes. “Having that information allows you to maximize your genetic potential to remain healthy.”Dr. LePine sees a near future where these tests are a common part of personalized medicine. “The prices of these genetic tests have come down pretty dramatically,” he notes. “And when they come down even more, I truly believe it will be malpractice to prescribe a medication without first checking your genetic detox pathways.”

Have you ever wanted to learn more about your genetics, but didn’t know where to start? You’re in luck. DNALife is offering readers the chance to win six genetic profiles and a free DNALife training (a $595 value) OR a DNA Health Test and a free DNALife training (a $400 value). All you need to do is enter below!

Next article