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Personal Genomic Tests: Do We Know Enough For Them To Be Beneficial?

Think Before You Spit- a woman looking at a test tube

Campaigns against public spitting in the 19th century were largely driven by concerns about the spread of tuberculosis. However, at the beginning of the 21st century, spitting seems to be making a comeback.  Over the past few years, several companies have begun offering personal genomic tests online to the public. There have been famous images of “spit parties”, where celebrities are seen filling tubes with saliva to ship for DNA testing. Getting information on one’s genes has been promoted as fun, as part of social networking, and as a basis for improving health and preventing disease.

When it comes to spitting to improve one’s health, we say: think before you spit.  Our knowledge of the potential benefits and harms of these tests is incomplete at best.  Despite exciting research advances in genomics of common diseases, there is still much to learn about what this information means and how to use it to prevent disease. A little bit of incomplete or inaccurate information may even be harmful.

There are at least 2 key questions to consider when deciding whether personal genomic tests are worth your spit. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Genomics and Health Impact Blog*

What I Want Her To Know About Diabetes

After a tough low this morning:

I want her to know that she was wanted so much, well before she arrived, and that her parents went to great lengths to make sure her arrival was as safe as they could manage.

I want her to know that those moments when she has to wait while I test, or while I bolus, or the times when I have to set her in her crib and gulp down grape juice while she stands there with her big, brown eyes staring at me while her mouth tugs into an impatient smile, that I love her and I just need to deal with diabetes for a few seconds so I can be the best mommy I can.

I want her to know that if my eyes don’t get better, it’s not her fault. It’s not my fault, either. The fault lies with diabetes.

I want her to know that the reason I’ll sometimes frown at a soggy diaper or a voracious pull from the bottle isn’t because she’s being “bad” or doing something wrong, but because I’m worrying.

I want her to know that just because I have it, and because some of her best buddies have it, doesn’t mean that she will have it. But I also want her to know that if a diagnosis of any kind ever touches her life, we’ll manage just fine and take the best care of one another that we can.

I want her to know that when she smiles at me, it’s like a thousand online communities inspiring me all at once. That the hope of her was once the biggest incentive to improve my health, only to be superseded by her arrival in my arms.

I want her to know that regardless of what she may hear about this “diabetes,” her mommy is going to be just fine. Just fine.

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

Consider Medical Conditions Before Jumping On The New Year’s Resolution Diet-And-Exercise Bandwagon

The first week of January was full of news reports of giving advice on your new diet and exercise program to help you lose the weight you’ve always wanted to. In a previous post and video I talk about some do’s and don’ts when planning for your weight loss New Year’s resolution.

In the video below, I talk about some medical issues to keep in mind before starting your program. For example, do you have a family history of medical problems like high blood pressure or diabetes? If so, you may want to schedule an appointment with your personal physician before jumping on the diet and exercise bandwagon.

If you find this video helpful, I invite you to check out other TV interviews at MikeSevilla.TV. Enjoy!

*This blog post was originally published at Doctor Anonymous*

Talk To Patients Before Running Tests

The Associated Press ran a provocatively-titled piece recently, “Family health history: ‘best kept secret’ in care”, which noted how a geneticist at the Cleveland Clinic discovered that asking about family members and their history of breast, colon, or prostate cancer was better than simply doing genetic blood testing.

Surprising? Hardly. This is what all medical students are taught. Talk to the patient. Get a detailed history and physical. Lab work and imaging studies are merely tools that can help support or refute a diagnosis. They provide a piece of the puzzle, but always must be considered in the full context of a patient. They alone do not provide the truth. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*

5 Tips On How To Be A Healthcare Survivalist

There are plenty of “survivalists” out there who stock their basements with canned goods, getting ready for some unexpected (and unlikely) apocalypse. Meanwhile there are things that are much more likely to happen to you — like getting sick — which many of us don’t prepare for at all. So to help you get started, here are five important tips on how you can become a healthcare survivalist:

1.  Take care of your chronic conditions. Whether it’s high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, depression, asthma or any other kind of ailment, do what it takes to manage your own care. Take your medications and follow your doctors’ instructions. Why? Because if you don’t, your condition can get worse and lead to even more serious problems. As much of a pain as it may (literally) be, there’s a reason the old saying “an ounce of prevention” still resonates today — because it’s true.

2.  Live a healthy lifestyle. Everyone gives you this advice, but with studies showing that 42% of Americans will be obese by 2050, it doesn’t seem to be getting through. Denial can wonderfully appealing;  but when it comes to your health, it can also kill you. Stop smoking, exercise, and eat right. You may find that your employer has programs in place that will help you do all of those things, and many of them work. Why not give one of them a try? You can’t improve your life all at once, but you can start. Your life will be happier if you keep yourself healthy. So rather than whistling past the graveyard, jog past it. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at See First Blog*

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