February 9, 2009

Genetic Tests for Heart Disease Risk

From an article on MedlinePlus:

Such tests probably wouldn't be used in childhood, Erdmann said. "But I can imagine a 30-year-old man with a family history of heart disease having one," she said. "It would be good for him to get a test of these genetic variants and find out if it is important to modify the other factors that lead to heart disease, such as obesity and high blood pressure."

I am quite sceptical on these kind of investigations. I see the potential of stratifying risk populations for more personalized treatment, but I think risk factors such as obesity, smoke, sedentary lifestyle and bad diet should be avoided even without any particular additional genetic predisposition.

Maybe having a "positive genetic test" could scare a person and make him change lifestyle. It's incredible how sophisticated we have become.

I would appreciate any comment on this.

Genome wide-association studies are being published very frequently on journals such as Nature Genetics.

Recent examples:

Genome-wide association of early-onset myocardial infarction with single nucleotide polymorphisms and copy number variants (link)

A supersized list of obesity genes (link)

Genome-wide association study for early-onset and morbid adult obesity identifies three new risk loci in European populations (link)

Hope to have soon time to go more in detail on this topic. The studies are very interesting but it is difficult to draw conclusions and interpretations.

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