Think back to twenty years ago. Dial-up internet and personal computers were exciting and new. iPhones and Google were years away from conception, and Facebook, Twitter and any other social media was nonexistent. In just twenty short years, the way in which we communicate, interact and learn has changed dramatically. What if we said that healthcare was on the precipice of dramatic change? A change so everlasting, that the practice of medicine will be impacted forever.
In 2001, a scientific paper was published that stated that 90 percent of the sequence of the genome’s three billion base-pairs had been discovered. While scientists reveled in this information then, the practical use of the human genome project is just now coming to light. Since 2006, a company called 23 and me has been trying to develop personalized testing in regards to the genome. In other words, the company uses results from salivary testing to determine what diseases you are at risk for, what traits your carry, what medications you may be sensitive to, your ancestry and other wellness parameters. While some testing was regarded as unreliable in the past, 2015 was a huge year for 23 and me. It became the only genetic service available directly to the patient that includes reports and meets FDA regulations.
Currently, there are four main categories of reports available from 23 and me, including the Carrier Status Reports, Ancestry Reports, Wellness Reports and Trait Reports. The information included ranges from basic eye color to sensitivity to alcohol, lactose intolerance, carrier traits of sickle cell, cystic fibrosis, and a host of other results. While the FDA has not approved its use for other testing, 23 and me has been used in Canada and the United Kingdom to determine a multitude of other risk factors, lifestyle choices, and how your body can be predicted to react to certain medications. The raw data available from 23 and Me can be analyzed by other corporations, and interpreted by physicians to help you live optimally. 23 and Me opens up the doors to personalized, preventive medicine.