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Stanford Scientist Tracks Genetic Onset of Own Diabetes

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At what point would you still want to/not want to know your genetically predisposed destiny? What if your genes spell out a fair chance of you developing diabetes or even cancer? Would you live your life differently, change your diet? Would the knowledge of this increased possibility of disease leave you with sleepless nights or would you feel empowered by this chance to come to terms with or even delay the onset?

The above are all questions that every person will have their own view on and I would expect opinion to differ wildly. In many respects, I would fall on the side of ‘not want to know’, on the grounds that in many cases I would not be in a position to alter the inevitable, whereas another part of me knows that this foresight would make me more proactive in undergoing tests to ensure early detection. Swings and roundabouts, and a minefield of ethical and medical dilemmas are inevitable as we progress towards personalised medicine and pay-per-genome availability on the market.

The reason for these ponderings is an article released by Stanford University, detailing two years of research by Dr Snyder and team wherein the geneticist’s DNA, RNA and cellular proteins were sequenced and monitored. By taking snapshots of molecular variables over time, the team not only monitored Snyder’s immune system as it battled with viral infections, but also highlighted his genetic predisposition to develop diabetes. Armed with this knowledge, Dr Snyder made alterations to his diet and lifestyle, and managed to pre-empt any severe difficulties associated with the onset of type-II diabetes.

Take a look at the Stanford article for full details of experimental design and results. It’s a great read, showing the future of personalised medicine is oh so close and very real indeed.