Compare Medical DNA Tests
DNA can now predict your risk of developing certain diseases. This can help in that it allows you to take certain preventative measures or alt least know what to look out for as you age.This can be particularly useful if there is a recurring disease in your family.
What Does A Home DNA Test mean?
Home DNA testing kits are where you conduct the DNA test in your own home by yourself. The key here is that home DNA tests require self collection of the DNA sample. Most require a simple saliva test.You then return your sample and have access to your results either online or they are sent to you at home.
What Can You Learn Medically from Your DNA?
Different test providers will test for different conditions but the following can be deduced from your DNA. They are;autoimmune diseases, eye diseases,cardiovascular diseases,endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases, neurological and oncological diseases and osteoporosis and male baldness. If we take oncology as an example, and hone in on breast cancer. It is now believed that breast cancer is caused by a mix of environmental issues and also genes. If there is a family history of breast cancer then this could also increase your risk of developing the disease.The most common genes that are linked include the gene BRCA1 and the gene BRCA2. The DNA test will assess your predisposition to these diseases and in many cases test providers will compare your results against the general populations.
What Does The Home Test Involve?
Test provides will differ but most will send you a kit that requires you to take an oral swab which is quick and pain free. The cheek swab seems to be the most popular. This involves gently scraping the inside of your cheek for around 45 seconds with a swab, which looks very much like a cotton bud. Many then ask you to repeat the process with a second swab and then put both samples into vials before you send them off to the testing company. Other companies send you a cheek scraper which looks and feels like a soft toothbrush.
What's The Science Behind These Claims?
Most test providers keep their processes under wraps but the general process is to look at the SNP's-the single nucleotide polymorphisms in your DNA. From this an assessment can be made about your predisposition towards certain diseases.
A Word Of Caution
Most test providers are keen to point out that your results in this type of testing are not clinical results i.e they do not tell you that you are definitely going to get a certain disease. What they do tell you are your chances of developing a certain disease. It is important to note that other factors can also come into play including lifestyle choices, diet and our environment as well as our family history. A DNA test is one part of the picture and not the whole picture.
Your GP/Genetic Counsellor
When you are considering a medical DNA test it could be good to speak to your GP first or also to involve them afterwards. Many test providers also supply genetic counsellors that you can access after your test to help you understand what next steps you can take should your results suggest a predisposition towards a certain disease. Do check what your test provider is willing you offer you as some will charge you extra for this service.
What To Consider Before You Buy A Home DNA Test
The first thing is to be clear about is what DNA can provide us with the answers with and what it cannot. So if you believe a home DNA test may predict accurately that you will definitely get a certain disease and when then you may want to think again. You should also consider whether you are fully prepared for what the data may tell you. This is particularly important in paternity testing.You may want to check to see if the company you have bought the test from provide any form of support services afterwards.This may be very important if you discover that you may be predisposed towards a certain disease. Finally, do check out the company that are analysing your DNA. Do they comply with international guidelines on the use of genetic data and is your data safe? Some companies have sold on genetic data without the consent of the donors so this is one online purchase where you really must read the small print.