Healthcast: Predicting Health from Genes

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Genomic testing examines your d-n-a to uncover genes with the potential to become a real health risk. A new program hunts down bad genes while identifying good genes.

Ividalis Gomez has rheumatoid arthritis, and seeks ways to ease not only her pain but to help her kids and grandkids.

“I always used to say that it’s a pain that if you get hit, you can rub the pain away, but this pain is inside and you can’t just rub it away,” Gomez said. “I think once we know the results from mom, they probably want to jump aboard.”

A new study at Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania is turning a traditional approach to medicine upside down, by looking inside, first.

“Historically, medicine has been primarily been wait till you get sick and then figure out if we can make you feel better,” said Andy Faucett, director of policy and education at Geisinger Health Systems

As part of the MyCode Community Health Initiative, Geisinger has obtained consent from more than 135,000 patients. They’ve agreed to provide blood or saliva samples for genetic sequencing, giving researchers a much needed window into disease.

“A few years ago, i was in my office alone, nobody else around, then felt faint started to pass out when the defibrillator worked and now know how it works,” said study participant Richard Davis.

This study will also help researchers determine how good gene changes can help us live healthier lives.

“I think it’s one of the few times we might actually get to prevent disease, catch people before they get sick and either slow the process down or keep it from happening,” Faucett said.

The MyCode study combined with electronic health records will help doctors look at genetic health risks, along with age and medical history.

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