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The promise of the genomic revolution is alive


Screening tests for diseases based on one’s genetic profile have limited offerings but are growing. There are currently tests for some specific clotting disorders, some cancer medications, certain heart disease medications, some seizure medications and some cholesterol medications.[/caption]

Health care providers can do noninvasive testing to determine in some instances the best medication for you to take. We are all different and the way we respond to medication can vary. This has to do with the genes we inherit from our parents. These genes do not change so one’s response to medications should be static.

Yes, a simple swab of the inside of your cheek could make a real difference in what medication you are placed on, the dosage and how effective that medication is for you.

The number of tests that are offered is currently limited but growing. We can test for some clotting disorders, some cancer medications, some heart disease medications, some seizure medications and some cholesterol medications.

One of the greatest impacts of these tests is in the field of psychiatry. These tests are helpful in determining which medications your genetic structure responds to best. What medication is best for your depression or anxiety? What medication could best handle your psychosis or attention deficit disorder?

There are numerous medications for depression that work in different ways. It is wonderful to have the technology to determine which medications would work best for someone. Also, to know which medications would not work for someone. This information could help decrease the trial-and-error process of trying a medication for a few weeks only to find it does nothing for a person and then trying another medication for a few weeks and coming up with another failure.

With this new information in the genomic sphere, starting a medication that is effective on that first try is more assured.

Surely, in the future we will have more genetically targeted treatments for patients. The days of Star Trek where Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy scans your body and then knows exactly what to do are getting closer. A health care provider can dream, can’t she?

Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at