Even with genetic tests the value of the in-depth family history is still crucial…
The entire article is fascinating an definitely important to understand the limitations and the benefits genetic tests have.
Although Murphy’s surroundings may be old-fashioned, his practice is not. Murphy, a board-certified internist who writes a blog called The Gene Sherpa, is one of a small minority of doctors who use genetic tests to help manage their patients’ care.
“The majority of people we see have a very strong family history of X, Y or Z disease,” says Murphy, who’ll be 34 this week. He doesn’t bring up genetic testing until after taking a detailed personal and family medical history and assessing such risk factors as cholesterol and blood pressure. “I tell them there are lots of ways to dig deeper. Then I also tell them the limitations.”
“We have way more data than we have knowledge,” says Clay Marsh, a lung and critical-care doctor who directs the Center for Personalized Health Care at The Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus. “The biology is struggling to keep up with the technology.
“Though some diseases, such as sickle cell and cystic fibrosis, are caused by mutations in a single gene, many common conditions arise from the interplay of a variety of genes and lifestyle and environmental factors, not all of which have been identified.
“Having a family history of heart disease increases your risk of heart disease more than some of these (genetic) markers they test for,” Murphy says. “Then, just because you have that marker doesn’t mean that’s what caused the heart disease in your family. That’s one thing I teach residents: No gene is an island.”