Genetic test kits are a popular way to identify a person’s ancestral history. Many of the tests today are now advertising health tests to reveal whether someone is at risk for specific diseases and conditions. But using these test more and more people feel they are getting a glimpse into their health future. Do they have the gene that will make them more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and cancer.
“More and more people want to explore their own medical data, and a DTC genetic test is one way to begin to understand some aspects of your future health,” says Dr. Robert Green, a medical geneticist at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital and director of the Genomes2People Research Program. “Yet it is important to realize that DTC testing is not the same as genetic testing in a medical context, and is not a comprehensive examination of your DNA.”
In her book “My Happy Gene” Dr. J. Dunn talks about how these test work and what is the best way to test your DNA for genes that may lead to health issues.
Genetic testing has finally become cheap and easy. To get your entire genome tested using your saliva, some companies charge between $59 and $99 at this time. In about four to six weeks you can receive an incredible amount of data about your personal genetics. This information includes statistics about your ancestry and family origins, as well as contact information to reach blood relatives you may not have known exist. The raw data contains the most amazing information about you. These details include sensory data, including whether you like bitter tastes, are empathetic, have specific food likes or dislikes, and so much more. You will be presented with incredible information about your health risks and your personality traits. Some of this is generalized data, of course, as life circumstances and traumas can change how a gene expresses itself.
Dr. J. Dunn explains how her research was motivated because of her personal struggles to feel healthy. She had a case of mono when she was sixteen years old and suffered from lifelong depression. Since then she has battled chronic fatigue syndrome caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Looking into the history of the virus she found that 90 percent or more people have antibodies to the virus and yet don’t necessarily have an issue with it for the rest of their lives. She was also looking for true answers to her own depression. These were missing pieces in the puzzle of health, and she began her quest to search for why and how to fix them. She approached her research with a compassionate point of view, knowing that some types of behavior and health problems are caused by inherited biochemical imbalances and are not personal failings. Things such as weight, depression, addictions, and many other illnesses.
Genetic testing can identify potential health problems and give you another tool to make informed decisions about managing your health care. Dr. J. Dunn explores how to obtain correct results and what to do with the results. She also talks about compassion for yourself and others when it comes to problems beyond our control. Her book – Genetic Compassion – will help you to understand how genes play a very important role in how we feel.