Home > Disease > DNA and Disease Prediction

DNA and Disease Prediction

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 11 Mar 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Dna Predict Predicting Disease Test

DNA has become an extremely useful tool for predicting disease. By allowing medical professionals to identify genes in DNA that are markers for disease, a person can make appropriate lifestyle or similar modifications to help lower the risk of disease. For those diseases that are inherited, identifying a parent who is a carrier but does not express the disease can also help parents make informed choices regarding a potential pregnancy.

Predicting Heart Disease

The incidence of heart disease continues to rise in the United Kingdom (UK) and many other parts of the world. Heart disease is a complex interplay of lifestyle factors and genetics. Recently, researchers in the UK found a method for identifying those individuals who have an elevated risk of heart disease. They found that telomeres - miniscule DNA strands that are found at the ends of chromosomes - could provide valuable information about a person's chances of having heart disease. It was found that shorter telomeres suggested a greater risk of developing heart disease in men aged forty-five to sixty-four years old.

The telomeres were measured in leukocytes, also known as white blood cells. Researchers believe that as telomere length decreases, a person's chromosomes are more likely to mutate. This relates to the protective effect of telomeres, which help to prevent damage to chromosome ends. The research can hopefully allow medical professionals to eventually predict someone's risk of heart disease, which will mean allowing us to find new ways to prevent 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. In ALS, muscle use and mobility are lost, leading to death. Parkinson's disease results in tremors and compromised movement. Like ALS, no cure exists for Parkinson's disease, which means that research is vital to help scientists find effective treatments or a cure. New research has, however, provided clues about predicting these diseases.

In a research study based in the United States, scientists looked at data from people with ALS and Parkinson's disease as well as those who did not have the diseases. They found differences in genes that allowed them to predict those individuals who had an increased risk for the diseases.

These differences were noted after researchers investigated the axon guidance pathway. This pathway involves a complicated group of chemically mediated messages that are important in the brain during foetal growth. They work to support and repair the 'wiring' of the brain during a person's entire life. There were numerous differences in the pathway genes that relate to these diseases. In addition, researchers also found pathway genes that identify people at a very high risk of ALS, several thousand times that of the general population.

For Parkinson's disease, they discovered pathway genes that suggested a very high risk of approximately four hundred times that of the general population. It is hoped that for individuals who have a higher risk of the diseases, scientists will be able to create drugs that can target these pathways.

The Importance of Caution

While research into DNA and disease prediction is vital to preventing disease, there has been a worrisome side effect of this newfound knowledge. Home tests have cropped up on the Internet and in advertisements virtually everywhere, claiming to analyse a person's DNA to find genes that are markers for diseases such as cancer.

The results, however, are inaccurate and generally mislead the consumer. Government investigations have been conducted on many of these companies, with results inaccurate and false.

The tests constitute a fraudulent money-making scheme on the part of the company and should be avoided by consumers. It is recommended that if a person wishes to have genetic testing performed, that they see a physician for more information and reliable testing. DNA holds great promise for predicting disease and it is an exciting area of research but consumers should always remain cautious and ensure that they obtain testing and information from a medical professional.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Nice work it really helped me with the big project I'm doing in May.
Jem - 11-Mar-19 @ 5:44 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • spearmannbails
    Re: DNA and Criminology
    no. deoxyribonucleic acid is to be for biology, and biology only.
    24 June 2019
  • Casey
    Re: DNA Testing for Pets
    Hi, I was wondering if there was any chance you could do a DNA test on my dogs ashes, for a long time we suspected he wasnt full Siberian…
    18 June 2019
  • Vee
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    Can I text my 4 month old baby ashes, there is pieces of her bone,
    12 June 2019
  • Cami
    Re: DNA Viruses
    Are you able to give me an explanation of how prescribed medicines may cause DNA mutations? As far as I know they can bind the DNA strands…
    11 June 2019
  • Yanagi
    Re: Evolution of DNA
    Dear Ian Murnaghan BSc Passive genetic mutations and recombination with survival of the fittest are impossible, mathematically. Many benefit…
    5 June 2019
  • Banda
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    My daughter was born stillborn and was buried. I don’t want to disturb her resting place. Is there anything the hospital would have saved to…
    29 May 2019
  • Sherel
    Re: DNA Test after Death
    I had a dna sibling test done and there seem to be a problem with the test that the lab have not told me about yet and I know that my four…
    29 May 2019
  • nc dh
    Re: DNA Studies and the Evolution of Birds
    hfgewvfd hbcdhbchd hdvbhvbhd udfbheir dvudgv
    22 May 2019
  • Afia
    Re: Evolution of DNA
    A section of the DNA that can be delimited according to the function of it's product is called?
    18 May 2019
  • Afia
    Re: Evolution of DNA
    A section of DNA that can be delimited according to the function of it's product is called?
    18 May 2019