Genomic medicine, also known as personalized medicine, is an emerging field of medicine that customizes medical care to your own body’s unique genetic makeup. We are all familiar with DNA, the molecules you inherit from your parents to establish the way your body looks and functions. DNA is arranged in a twisted ladder formation with base pairs as the “alphabet” to the DNA. This information stored in various sequences on the rungs of the ladder. The DNA ladder contains information needed to make proteins known as genes. This entire structure, which contains 25,000 genes, is your genome. There are as many as 3 billion pairs of DNA that provide us with a unique blueprint of who you are. Another part of the DNA is that the cells function to make messages through a substance called messenger RNA. The messenger RNA provides signals to the cell and other cells regarding their various functions. Combined together the DNA signals and the messenger RNA signals keep things rolling along. Ultimate change comes when the DNA is damaged because the cell then cannot accurately replicate itself and we end up with diseased cells and changed in the metabolic function of the cells. If this occurs enough of the time, the damage can lead to disease.
It is interesting to note that more than 99 percent of our DNA sequences are identical from person to person, but it is that last remaining 1 percent that differentiates us from one another. We all have small variation in specific genes that may increase or protect us from illness. Each one of us responds differently to environmental stressors that can influence our genome. The Genome has an influence on your Biochemistry. It is the communication that signals the cells to function in various ways. Driven by enzymes and vitamin cofactors, this process works towards health, or if it is imbalanced or overwhelmed, it works towards disease. Physicians who practice genomic medicine analyze those subtle differences to find better ways to diagnose, treat and maintain your health. We use that information to figure out how to change the cell signals.
From a personal perspective, as an integrative osteopath, genomic medicine is one of the most exciting things to happen in medicine. It will literally change the way we practice medicine. Because our genes interact with our environment, as a physician, we can respond to these cues to create and maintain health. The power of genomics is that we can’t change our genes (they are fixed), but we can change the environment they live in. Genomics looks at the “what if’s” in the individual. We do this by analyzing alterations in genes called SNPs, or single nucleotide polymorphisms. A SNP may do nothing at all or it can modify proteins created by the gene, which makes them more or less effective. In some cases, cellular systems are sped up and in other cases these changes cause a slowing of the process. This is the prize of genomic medicine as it is applied in a polygenomic fashion. This means looking not just at individual SNPs but how a SNP’s influence is perceived across a number of systems within the body, ie. cardiovascular, cognitive, inflammation, oxidation, estrogen metabolism etc.
The genome data basically “shines a light” on a person’s specific information to provide clues as to how to adjust one’s diet, stress patterns and other environmental factors. This approach allows physicians to find better ways to support the body’s own natural defense and healthy system, address predispositions to certain diseases, boost the healing process, improve health and wellness and even inform us about which prescriptions and dietary supplements may work best for you. Instead of treating a symptom or preventing a disease by knowing best practices; genomic medicine rightly identifies what the individual’s best practices actually are.
Here’s a little more detail about some of the tests we use:
Weight Management Panel
Achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight is a complex interplay between genes, gender, emotions, biochemistry, hormones, metabolism, dietary intake, exercise, toxins and inflammation.
This comprehensive panel provides gender-specific reports, based on 130 gene and 372 variant interpretations, offering personalized weight loss and weight management strategies affecting the following areas: Body Fat, Waist Circumference, Body Mass Index (BMI), Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Food Cravings & Addictions, Detoxification, Inflammation, Exercise, Nutrient Utilization, Weight Loss & Regain, Appetite Affecting Hormones and Metabolism & Thyroid Function
Complete Health Panel
Common health issues for men and women include hormonal health, which impacts prostate, breast and cervical cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, migraine, and thyroid function.
With gender-specific reports based on more than 145 gene and 420 variant interpretations, this genomic panel can help provide insight to personalized prevention and treatment programs addressing the following health concerns: Bone Health, Sex Hormone Metabolism, Prostate/Breast/Cervical Cancer, Infertility, Detoxification, Thyroid Function, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Migraine, Stress Response, Exercise, Eating Behaviors & Nutrient Utilization
Ultimate Wellness Panel
This panel is the broadest genomic blueprint, with gender-specific reports based on more than 450 gene and 1400 variant interpretations. This panel provides the most comprehensive look at health. It provides a blueprint for prevention and treatment of most chronic diseases, offering nutrigenomic and nutrigenetic strategies across a wide range of physiological, biochemical, and metabolic systems. This test addresses the following issues: Cardiovascular Disease, Lipid Metabolism, Hypertension, Diabetes, Glucose & Insulin Regulation, Bone Health, Detoxification, Estrogen/Hormone Metabolism, Neurotransmitters, Depression, Anxiety, Addiction, Stress Response, Cognitive Health, Alzheimer’s, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Methylation/Homocysteine, Nutrient Utilization, Inflammation, Histamine, Oxidative Stress, Thyroid Function, Weight Management, Exercise, Circadian Rhythm, Migraine & Telomeres.
Adverse drug reactions, over prescribing, under prescribing, and trial-and-error attempts to identify appropriate medications put patients at risk and waste billions of dollars every year. Pharmacogenomics evaluates genes involved in drug metabolism, transport and elimination to help identify the medications and dosages that will be most effective with minimal risk of negative side effects. ~99 carry two or more. A proactive, pharmacogenomic approach helps to identify how an individual may process prescription and over-the-counter medications. These DNA-informed decisions help to identify the right drug at the right dosage—tailored to an individual’s genomic predispositions and specific biochemistry.
This comprehensive pharmacogenomic profile analyzes 44 genes and 372 variants involved in processing over 240 medications, in areas including: Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Gastrointestinal, Gaucher Disease, Infections, Pain, Psychotropic, Rheumatology, Sjogren’s Syndrome, Transplantation and Urologicals.
Want to know about this fascinating field of medicine? We promise it will open doors to health and wellness that you never imagined.