Gene therapy, influence on cardiac death and mortality, genetic testing benefit and cost
September 24 2015 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

A gene is a set of segments of nucleic acid that contains the information necessary to produce a functional RNA product in a controlled manner.

Herbs, herbal extracts, vitamins, nutrients, supplements, minerals that influence genes
Gene. 2015 May 10. The role dietary of bioactive compounds on the regulation of histone acetylases and deacetylases: a review. Nutrigenomics is an area of epigenomics that explores and defines the rapidly evolving field of diet-genome interactions. Lifestyle and diet can significantly influence epigenetic mechanisms, which cause heritable changes in gene expression without changes in DNA sequence. Nutrient-dependent epigenetic variations can significantly affect genome stability, mRNA and protein expression, and metabolic changes, which in turn influence food absorption and the activity of its constituents. Dietary bioactive compounds can affect epigenetic alterations, which are accumulated over time and are shown to be involved in the pathogenesis of age-related diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Dietary bioactive compounds such as genistein, phenylisothiocyanate, curcumin, resveratrol, indole-3-carbinol, and epigallocatechin-3-gallate can regulate acetylation of histones and non-histone chromatin proteins, and their health benefits are thought to be attributed to these epigenetic mechanisms. The intake of dietary compounds that regulate epigenetic modifications can provide significant health effects and may prevent various pathological processes involved in the development of cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Genes behave differently in men and women
Thousands of genes behave differently in the same organs of males and females. This could explain why men and women have different responses to drugs and diseases. Gene expression -- the level of activity of a gene -- varies greatly according to sex. Gene expression holds important implications for understanding disorders such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity, and identifies targets for the development of gender-specific therapies. Even in the same organ, scores of genes varied in expression levels between the sexes. The smallest differences are in brain tissue. Males and females share the same genetic code, but gender regulates how quickly the body can convert DNA to proteins. Aspirin is more effective at preventing heart attack in men than women. One gender may metabolize the drug faster, leaving too little of the medication in the system to produce an effect. Genome Research, July 2007.

Gene therapy
Clinical Ophthalmolology. 2014. Advances in gene therapy technologies to treat retinitis pigmentosa. Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a class of diseases that leads to progressive degeneration of the retina. Experimental approaches to gene therapy for the treatment of inherited retinal dystrophies have advanced in recent years, inclusive of the safe delivery of genes to the human retina. This review is focused on the development of gene therapy for RP using recombinant adenoassociated viral vectors, which show a positive safety record and have so far been successful in several clinical trials for congenital retinal disease. Gene therapy for RP is under development in a variety of animal models, and the results raise expectations of future clinical application.

Genetic testing - a waste of money?
A number of companies now offer tests, typically costing hundreds of dollars, to calculate genetic risks for common conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease that involve multiple genes. Genetic tests to determine disease risk are proliferating but many are a waste of money and tell people little more than they would know from studying family history.

Cousins and maternal age
Children born to first cousins or older mothers have a twofold higher risk of birth defects such as Down syndrome and heart and lung problems, but the absolute risk to any one child remains low. The Lancet, news release, July 3, 2013

Questions
I'm sure you have heard the buzz about genetic testing as well as all the information we are able to learn today about how our body functions by looking at our genetics. We provide genetic testing that can help provide not only diet and exercise advice and motivation by showing disease risk but also information on how we process over 60 different cardiovascular, pain and mental health medications .I attached a sample Pathway Fit report review for your review as well as a couple one-pagers/reports. Please let me know if you would like more information and I would be more than happy to let you see our products firsthand with a complimentary test.
   I am not convinced that such testing is helpful in determining what kind of vitamins, minerals or other nutrients a body needs.

Not cost effective for heart disease testing
Gene testing does not help predict the risk of heart disease over existing methods. Doctors "should keep on focusing on what they are doing" and not think that DNA tests are going to change their practice anytime soon, study author Dr. A. Cecile J. W. Janssens from Erasmus MC-University Medical Center Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Dr. A Cecile J. W. Janssens says it would take more than 100 genes to make tests useful, but that researchers have only found about 10 related to heart disease. "For predicting heart disease on the basis of DNA alone, I am very pessimistic, simply because non-genetic risk factors play such an important role," Dr. Janssens said, referring to environmental factors such as diet. American Heart Journal, July 2009.

Gene tests that combined over 100 genetic mutations proved ineffective at predicting a woman's risk of a heart attack or stroke. High cholesterol, high blood pressure and a family history of heart disease were the strongest predictors of a woman's heart disease risk. Journal of the American Medical Association, February 17, 2010.

Breast cancer genes
Women with certain changes in the BRCA1 gene are at high risk for breast cancer. Mutations in the BRCA1 gene can leave cells incapable of repairing routine DNA damage. When such damage occurs in a protein called PTEN, which regulates the growth of cells, cell growth is unchecked and tumors form. Women with imperfect copies of BRCA1 or BRCA2 have a 50 to 85 percent chance of getting breast cancer. Mutations in these genes is responsible for 5 to 10 percent of breast cancer cases.

Risk of mortality, prediction with gene testing
Nine new gene variations have been discovered that can make a person vulnerable to sudden cardiac death. In Feb 2009, Dan Arking of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, found a single gene that raises the risk of cardiac death. A March 2009 study identifies that gene plus nine new ones that alter the timing of heart contractions, a measure known as the QT interval. People with prolonged QT intervals have a higher risk of cardiac death. The more of these 10 gene variants a person has, the greater the chances of having a prolonged QT interval.

Various gene disorders
Neurofibromatosis causes cognitive disorders.

Email
Q. I received an email that said, "Genetic Direction is a leading provider of genetics-based health management programs. We currently offer a genetics-based weight loss program GxSlim. The GxSlim program includes a DNA test of 48 genetic markers directly related to weight loss and a comprehensive personalized report that includes the ideal food, nutrient and exercise recommendations based on the patient's genotype. The patient also has access to our genotype-specific health content portal, which contains hundreds of videos, recipes and articles that are targeted to the patient based on their genetic profile." What is your opinion on gene testing and advice on food and weight loss that this company provides?
   A. I am not familiar with this company and I am not aware of much medical research that can provide people with specific foods to eat in order to lose weight based on genetic testing.gjhgh