Can your DNA tell you the healthiest way to live?
After uploading raw data from my 23andMe gene test to the DNA Lifestyle Coach site, the double helix began to spin on my screen. A national blurred illustration girl greeted me and happily took her cell phone and ate a bowl of vegetables. In the salmon background, writing “my diet coach,” provides a “tailor-made” health plan for my genetics.
Trial and error
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Here are operated by Titanovo DNA life coach promised: between $215 and $320, it will send you a saliva kit, analyze your genes, to make sure you how best to live in the best mental and physical health, and the best dental and skin care. Another $150, it will measure your telomere length (our chromosomes protective cap, which is often as the growth of the age and narrow, and is studied to understand aging), in order to help you evaluate your life. You can also bypass Titanovo’s DNA test, instead of merging data from 23andMe (or what I did) or other testing companies.
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) lifestyle coach is emerging in recent years a number of a member of the company, they promised to use scientific method to reduce personal DNA data report of confusion, rather than to life with a simple set of points, such as health, happiness, more intelligent, more.
DNAFit. And dynamic diagnosis. Even Orig3n’s “genetic super hero test” will make DNA based predictions about your strength, intelligence and speed. Most of these are aimed at improving athletic and physical performance and preventing motor related injuries. But DNA lifestyle coaches risk makeup and stress relief, seeking answers to questions like: can our genes tell us how to sleep better? What’s the secret of my DNA to prevent aging?
When I started reading my report, the DNA lifestyle coach told me, “your genetics is making you more difficult to lose weight than most people, so your calorie reduction should be strict.” When dieting, I should aim for 600 calories a day.
At first glance, this information is no more illuminating than any other diet or fitness program I’ve tried before. Inserting my weight, height, body mass index and heart rate into apps like MyFitnessPal or Fitbit, everyone would spit out a similar estimate. Tell me something I don’t know. Well, what about it?
According to my genes, it says that three cups of coffee a day can be beneficial, without giving any details. The psychological effects of caffeine are said to be less obvious to me, meaning that even if I drink coffee at night, I can sleep a few hours later. It also predicts that I will sober up faster than most people. Big! More coffee? Less poisoning? All from my genes?
It gets better. Obviously, I have great endurance. Like marathon runner’s horizontal endurance (if I want to be a professional athlete). My DNA lifestyle coach says I emphasize myself in sports and competition. That’s because I don’t have the risk of “excessive anxiety” or other “negative emotions”. I don’t think my husband would agree. But it doesn’t matter. I began to like my genes more.
To my dismay, I signed up for the company’s telomere test, which required me to send more saliva to the mail. It will take weeks to get results, but I have a feeling that the test will tell me that I also have strong telomeres and that I will live a long time. I saw my palm on a corner of the French quarter in New Orleans, and it all started to feel like it.
But as were told their superiority and appear the kind of feel-good endorphins can rapid decline, only need to further study of these data can be found that the individual biological sense of this expansion is not just an illusion.
“You must know, it’s like what you see on television after midnight,” says Stuart k. Kim told me that I share in my DNA lifestyle coach website password, and complete the health records of the results with him. He is emeritus professor of developmental biology and genetics at Stanford university. “Weight loss things, anti-aging stuff. It’s quite far away. ”
Kim and I kept on the phone, and he and I tapped my report on the small information bubble next to the recommendations of carbohydrates, fats, fiber, water intake, vitamins, gluten and lactose. In each category, the report shows my genes and the gene sequence of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPS, pronounced “clip”, this is a single letter differences in gene alternative spelling, one letter may lead to different gene function). Each SNP has a link to a published abstract of academic papers (mostly paywalls), explaining how it relates to health.
“It’s like what you see on TV after midnight. Weight loss things, anti-aging stuff. It’s quite far away. ”
Kim went further. He used his academic accounts to generously offer and review research. He first posts a link to the company so that they can look at some of the conclusions if they choose. “Buyer beware. You can’t have everything in front of you. ”
The problem is, as Kim began to explain my DNA lifestyle coach’s report on my own SNPs, he couldn’t even understand it. Kim served as editor of PLOS genetics and a member of the national science advisory board. He has even developed his own DNA translation website for a Stanford professor of genetics, and students (or the public) can use it for free.
On DNA lifestyle coach website, my SNPs + = research conclusion is as follows: your eating behaviors may be 50% pleasure (eating by pleasure that lead to obesity and similar to addiction that). Then continue to recommend the LEARN diet for my genotype. However, there is no clear answer to how the company is evaluated.
Once, I heard Kim jong-il say in dismay: “maybe they just assumed that nobody would really see what they were saying? You almost have to become a detective and sit down and figure out these things. ”
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“We’re trying to assess the openness and honesty of science,” says Corey McCarren, Titanovo’s chief operating officer. The company successfully launched a Kickstarter campaign last year. McCarren specializes in marketing, not genetics, but he points out that his founding partner and chief executive, Oleksandr Savsunenko, has a PhD. Macromolecular chemistry from the university of Toulouse, France, has created the company’s telomere length detection kit.
“Science is now in a place where there is a strong correlation between a specific genetic variation and health outcomes,” McCarren said. As McAllen points out, big data – analysing large amounts of data to identify patterns and making predictions – is now used in many industries. The company believes that big data can also be successfully applied to genetics, using probabilistic methods.
Studies of DNA life coaches have been published in academic journals. But some studies have proved better than others, and he says companies are trying to give stronger research. The journal is different, the difference between the scale and scope of each are not identical, some experiments have been copied, and others, how could such a cloudy apple juice to some healthy genotype, no.
The DNA lifestyle coach algorithm ranks the research, giving it more prominence or affirmation. As the results of the study are updated, undo or reconfirm, the algorithm will also modify and update the customer’s report. The company plans to release its mental health, teeth and skin care tests within a few months (so far, you can get the results of diet and telomere).
In the future, if the user chooses to answer questions about themselves, plan their personal data into everyone’s daily health behaviors, like Facebook and Google is doing all the big data from people on the Internet, and people make assumptions, “McClaren said. “That’s what we want to do. We want to find the important connections that make the best lives possible. ”
Savsunenko explained: “we did not show all the referenced and average studies.” “In order to produce results, the exact number of studies we use and merge – this is our proprietary business. Although most of the recommendations are based on fairly simple genetic and mathematical methods. ”
Fair enough. But the underlying equation is still a bit like voodoo.
As a result of my alcohol: I will sober up soon, “drinking may lead to a hangover”. Then there are my 10 SNPS, which link to six academic articles, covering everything from how genes relate to alcohol consumption and intensity, to the risk of drinking and drinking.
But the DNA lifestyle coach didn’t mention any of the aldh2-related variants, and I already know I do, thanks to 23andMe. It causes a reaction called “Asian flush”. My body lacks enzymes that usually break down the toxic substances called acetaldehyde in alcohol. Even after half a glass of wine, it would become abnormal, causing the blood vessels on my face to swell. My skin became the color of my merlot. My heart racing. In 15 minutes, my face and chest looked hot as if I had fallen asleep on the beach. The mutation also increases the risk of esophageal cancer.
When he was drinking, Kim went through the same gene pink glow, and my DNA life coach completely ignored it.
When I asked Savsunenko, he said that most people who own the gene already knew they had it. “We are trying to get into smaller details. But, yes, you’re right – we should probably include it. ”
Whether you include or ignore what, or how to aggregate and average, genomic data interpretation is a morally tricky and legally risky business. I want to know that not only are these algorithms safe, but if they are legitimate.
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In the most romantic gesture, my husband gave me a 23andMe saliva bag for my birthday in 2015. That’s 23andMe, two years after receiving FDA warnings to stop explaining specific health data from genetic testing.
Using a medical device like a DNA kit and relying on companies’, rather than in tempe, ‘interpretations of our unsupervised based information from those kits, the FDA said, took the lead a patient to undergo unnecessary surgeries to prevent cancer, happens or decrease doses or stop a doctor’ s prescriptions and therapy altogether.
When I received when I was 23 andme results, the company has begun to pay more attention to blood (it tells me that I am 50% in east Asia, 50% in Europe, no shock), and other characteristics, such as eye color (there may be darkness – my eyes colour, too), I would be able to detect the taste bitter or sweet, it told me, I like the two), or if I were more likely to sneeze (apparently I) in the sun. My report was a few hours of mild entertainment, but it didn’t show the real change in life. It wasn’t until last month that I poured it into the DNA life coach.