Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×

Andrew Betterman is one of many volunteers providing a sample of his saliva, to help researchers chart his medical future

A new, non-invasive test might reveal whether someone is at greater risk for various diseases. Researchers are using the exam - which involves a saliva sample - to adjust the diets of "at-risk" patients. But some doctors say that, at least for now, the test raises more questions than it answers. Andrew Betterman is one of many volunteers providing a sample of his saliva, to help researchers chart his medical future. "The pamphlet suggests it will tell you about your cardiovascular health, your bone health," Andrew explains.

Using a mail-order kit, Mister Betterman collects a sample of his saliva, and then sends it to a lab in Seattle, where it is screened for variations or changes involving 19 specific genes. "If you have these variations, you can make changes to your current dietary or lifestyle habits," Christine Ashcraft, with the Genelex Corporation, the testing lab analyzing the samples says


Research The test, called the "nutritional genetic panel? can cost $400,000 Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

For example, a variation found in a gene called MTR has been associated with heart disease. So researchers suggest people with that variation increase their intake of "B" vitamins. Changes in a gene called VDR have been linked to weak bones. Doctors say people whose tests show that variation needs more calcium and Vitamin D in their diets. "They know what they need to focus on. They know what's most important for their own unique body," Christine Ashcraft explains. The test, called the "nutritional genetic panel? can cost $400,000. Some nutritionists say it's a waste of money.

ALSO READ: dieting tips for lazy bones

Doctor Steven Zeisel, from the University of North Carolina, says, "We just don't know enough to use those types of tests effectively." Critics say the test is not an accurate predictor of potential health problems. They say analyzing just 19 out of the more than 20,000 genes in the human body cannot determine which people face elevated risks.

"It's very naive to focus on a few select genes for any given disease. We know there are many contributors, genetic contributors to every complex disease," Professor Jim Fleet, from Purdue University says. Another criticism: there is no concrete information concerning how much a person must increase his or her intake of certain vitamins to ward off disease. In the meantime, most researchers say people should practice common sense, and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. (VOA/JC)


Popular

Unsplash

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) be repealed in Nagaland

Special Powers For The Armed Forces Act Of 1958 is an act to allow personnel of the armed forces in the states of *[Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura] to be granted certain special powers in troubled regions.

In protest, Nagaland has decided to put the Hornbill Festival on hold. Furthermore, the SIT investigating the event has been given a month to finish its inquiry.

Keep Reading Show less
Unsplash

Lee, the de facto leader of the country's biggest conglomerate, Samsung Group, has hinted at making a sizable change to the company to "create a better Samsung."

Samsung Electronics on Tuesday replaced all three CEOs in a surprise move that, the company said, was intended to enhance competitiveness and promote future growth.

Han Jong-hee was promoted to vice chairman and CEO and will be in charge of the newly created SET division, which merged the consumer electronics and IT and mobile communications divisions, previously led by Kim Hyun-suk and Koh Dong-jin, respectively.

Keep Reading Show less
Unsplash

The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the sustained progress in the 'Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership' between both countries despite the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russia's President Vladimir Putin met in New Delhi on Monday and discussed regional and global developments, including the post-pandemic global economic recovery, and the situation in Afghanistan.

Accompanied by a high-level delegation, Putin visited New Delhi for the 21st India-Russia annual summit. He extended an invitation to Modi to visit Russia for the 22nd India-Russia Annual Summit in 2022.

Keep reading... Show less