Genetic testing - A new frontier in preventive medicine
Using genetics for health assessment purposes is not a new concept. Genome sequencing has become a common, indispensable tool in various areas of medical science, as it allows for higher diagnostic accuracy and more tailored treatment strategies.
What is innovative in this field, however, is the introduction of genetic testing as a tool of prevention for healthy patients. This method can be used to identify any genetic predisposition for specific diseases or health issues. In this case, the patient is tested not to diagnose an existing pathological condition, but rather to detect any “genetic weaknesses” that could cause issues further down the line.
In this respect, it is important to highlight that such genetic variants per se do not necessarily represent a health risk – they do not cause a disease, they can simply facilitate its onset in association with unhealthy lifestyles or environmental factors.
Why run a genetic test
While genetics goes beyond our sphere of control, there are other aspects – such as diet, physical exercise, and lifestyle in general – that depend on our will and choices. Knowing where our genetic weaknesses lie affords us deeper awareness and can help us choose more health-promoting daily habits with a positive impact on our quality of life.
How genetic testing is done
Genetic testing uses saliva and does not require a blood sample. The saliva sample is taken by means of a quick, painless oral swab and sent to our laboratory for DNA sequencing.Factors such as foods, drugs or food supplements do not influence results, and the test does not need to be performed on an empty stomach.
The ADLER MED health centres currently offer two different genetic tests.
The HEALTH AND WELLNESS TEST provides information on specific health parameters, such as:
- Cardiovascular risk and lipid metabolism – to detect predisposing factors for hypertension, hyperlipidaemia, hypercholesterolaemia etc.
- Inflammatory response – to detect genetic predisposition to pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory reactions
- Bone health – to detect genetic predisposition to osteoporosis, as well as joint and tendon weakness
- Oxidative stress and ageing – to detect specific genes that can influence the production and effects of antioxidant substances
- Weight control – to detect genetic variants linked with a tendency to body weight gain
- Homocysteine – to assess the intake of folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12, which help to reduce blood homocysteine (high homocysteine in the blood is associated with several vascular and neurodegenerative diseases)
The NUTRITIONAL TEST is a genetic test that investigates the interaction between DNA and nutrition to detect susceptibility to nutrient-specific adverse reactions:
- Gluten intolerance (coeliac disease)
- Lactose and fructose intolerance
- Caffeine sensitivity
- Sensitivity to sulphites, nickel and alcohol
Medical examination and consultation
DNA testing must always be seen in the wider context of the patient’s whole clinical situation. Therefore it needs to be associated with a medical examination, in which the patient’s psycho-physical situation and complete medical history are analysed to define the correct diagnostic and therapeutic approach and the best preventive strategy. Prevention is, in fact, the main purpose of genetic testing.
Based on test results, the physician conducts the examination and devises the best therapeutic, including lifestyle adjustments and dietary changes, depending on the patient’s specific needs.
Combined, prevention and innovation provide the ultimate weapon for defending our health and longevity.
Dr Colomba Aura Romeo, MD
ADLER Spa Resort BALANCE