Posted on Jun 21, 2018, 2 p.m.
A large study shows that providing personal genomic risk factor information can have beneficial effects on lifestyle, and improvements were maintained at 1.5 year follow up.
Providing information on risk of CVD based on traditional risk factors to 7,328 patients has inspired beneficial lifestyle changes such as weight loss and quitting smoking. Close to 90% of participants said the information helped to make them take better care of their health.
A web based tool called KardioKompassi has been developed by scientist that allows doctors and patients to see and manage genomic information based on 49,000 disease associated genetic variants and lifestyle associated risk factors. Results delivered directly to patients show 10 year risk for ischemic heart disease based on traditional risk factors such as cholesterol levels, polygenic risk score, blood pressure, sex, and age. Individuals with elevated risks typically contact a doctor to discuss how best to reduce it.
At 18 month reassessment 17% of smokers had stopped and 13.7% had sustained weight loss. Overall risk reducing behavior was 32.4% in individuals with predicted CVD risks of over 10%, and 18.4% in those who were at lower risk. Close to 40% of individuals with high risk of CVD were smokers at the start of the study. Giving information to individuals in regards to their genetic profile has been shown to be motivating. Before the study some participants were aware they had high cholesterol, and said given the results it triggered them to make important lifestyle changes.
Participants will be recalled for follow up over the next 20 years with health status closely followed. It is expected to changes to continue as they have already maintained for 1.5 years. Patient participation is important in disease prevention studies, empowering with information on personalized risks as opposed to something generalised seems to be effective motivation for healthier lifestyles, according to the researchers, and the study serves as a model that can be adapted to other diseases which should be equally as valuable.
Genomic medicine is just emerging had hold many opportunities for further research. Results from this study are impressive at helping people live healthier lifestyle, hopefully the trend can continue in other diseases.
Materials provided by European Society of Human Genetics.
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