Traditional medicine is a trial and error, and one size fits all approach to diagnosis and treatment of disease. Drugs are developed to treat a disease, not an individual patient. Treatment is based on what is most likely to work for everyone with the same illness. For example, consider the use of antibiotics to treat an infection. Several different types of antibiotics may have to be tried until the most useful one for an individual is determined. The same scenario happens with the treatment of depression; many times, the first, second, or subsequent antidepressant medications will not work or cause unacceptable side effects. Finding the correct drug is trial and error until one is found, which is successful and safe. Weeks or even months may go by until the right medication is discovered. Meanwhile, a patient would continue suffering from their symptoms, and the disease can progress.
Gene changes in a patient’s genome (a person’s complete set of genes), may make them more susceptible to one disease than another person. Gene changes can lead to people metabolizing the same drug differently, having different side effects., and of course, different responses.
We are incredibly lucky to be living in the time of precision medicine. Precision medicine is a way to determine the most effective approach to treating, preventing, and identifying someone’s risk for disease by using a combination of genomics (a person’s complete set of genes), lifestyle, and environment. With precision medicine, healthcare decisions, including treatment, and prevention, can be individualized for each person. Precision medicine allows patients to be treated effectively, safer, and faster without unnecessary, painful, and expensive diagnostic testing.
Testing for one’s genome is now more accessible, cheaper, and convenient than ever. Direct to consumer testing is available through several different companies, including but not limited to 23andMe, Color Genomics and Gene by Gene. The price varies and can range anywhere from $250 to $1000. Physicians have access to companies not available to patients to do this testing as well.
Genes influence how effective medical treatments will perform. The same medicine that cures one person may make another person worse. Knowing that someone carries a gene that may cause disease, a physician can make medical decisions and interventions to prevent or even treat the condition. Genomic data can be utilized to determine which treatment is most likely to work and cause the fewest side effects. The earlier diseases like cancer, diabetes, and others are detected, the easier it is to prevent or treat.
At the Southern California Center for Anti-Aging, genomic testing allows us to develop the most optimal and individualized program for the health and wellness of each patient. No two people are alike, so their wellness plans should not be either.
Genomic testing, along with someone’s lifestyle, medical history, and physical exam, allows us to make the most effective recommendations for each person to reach optimal health.
Many patients request ‘Healthy Weight DNA,” testing, which is an evaluation that gives information about how different foods interact with specific genes to increase the risk of common diseases (also called nutrigenomics). The results of the Healthy Weight DNA test include a genetically matched diet suggestion based on an individual’s genes. Genes can determine if someone will lose weight and be healthier eating a low-fat diet or eating more healthy fats, eating a low carbohydrate diet, eliminating gluten, or eating more foods rich in specific vitamins and minerals.
The eventual objective of precision medicine is to customize every health and medical decision, product, and recommendation for each patient based on their genes, lifestyle, and environment. At the Southern California Center for anti-aging, genetic testing is utilized along with several other modalities to determine the optimal lifestyle for the health and wellness of each patient.