DNA is becoming increasingly important in the fight to predict and avoid certain diseases. Once doctors are able to identify genes in DNA that are markers for disease, they can advise the patient on certain lifestyle choices and modifications that can lower the risk of the disease developing and becoming a problem.
Identifying Heart Disease
In the UK and across the globe, heart disease continues to increase. The causes are a complex blend of lifestyle factors and genetics, and recently, UK scientific researchers have discovered a method for identifying persons prone to the illness.
Valuable information is stored and found in telomeres, DNA strands found on the ends of chromosomes. These telomeres can provide valuable clues as to a person’s chances of getting heart disease. The shorter the telomere, the greater the risk: As the length decreases it is more likely that the chromosome will mutate.
This research will eventually allow doctors to predict the likelihood of heart disease in a person allowing them to find new ways of preventing heart attacks.
Predicting Brain Disorders
Brain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are progressive disorders that lead to destruction of brain cells and functioning. Sufferers of ALS, lose muscle use and mobility, leading to eventual death. Sufferers of Parkinson’s disease have tremors and limited movement. Both diseases have no cure, meaning that research is of the utmost importance and urgency in order to treat and possibly cure them.
Recent studies, however, are providing clues towards predicting these diseases. Data has shown that different genetic makeup can allow them to identify those who have an increased risk of getting the disease.
The Future For Medical Research
It is widely acknowledged that medical research into DNA and disease prediction is a very exciting area of research, with widespread positive effects.
With this new found knowledge, however, there are some side effects: some DNA companies advertising tests claiming to find genes that are markers for diseases like cancer. This is misleading and inaccurate; if you wish to know more about these tests please see your physician for more information and reliable advice.
DNA testing holds great promise for the future of medical research in predicting diseases, but much of this research is still in the early stages and not yet ready for mass home use.
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