Study under review: Disclosure of genetic information and change in dietary intake: A randomized controlled trial
Science fiction is full of stories of genetic testing and its potential to revolutionize medicine and human performance. However, it’s not clear if the futurist hopes match scientific reality. Now that consumer genetic testing is both cheap and accessible, researchers have begun to study whether or not these services can actually help assess and manage health risks.
Because it’s such a new field, most of the research on the role of genetic testing for health management has been focused on diseases with known genetic risk factors, such as BRCA mutations, which greatly increase breast cancer risk. As research progresses, more and more genes and gene variants are being identified as risk factors for disease. However, as consumer genetic tests become more common, they’ve been used for a variety of lesser known exposure-disease associations based on more common gene variations.
Genetic testing will likely become more prevalent as it becomes cheaper, and consumers without much knowledge of genetics or disease will have access to information that they may not know how to handle. Genes can affect a variety of nutrition-related areas — everything from how we metabolize different fuel sources to how we absorb different nutrients.
But does it actually help people to have access to this information? Do people who receive advice based on genetic tests change their habits? The researchers in this study assessed whether or not genetic testing and subsequent dietary recommendations had an actual effect on diet, not just in the first days or weeks after being tested, but up to a year afterward.
The most established associations in genetics are for mutations that increase susceptibility to major diseases, such as BRCA for breast cancer. With the advent of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, a variety of lesser known genes have been tested, some of which can impact nutrients.
Other Articles in Issue #03 (January 2015)
Heart benefits of alcohol may not apply to everyone
CETP TaqiB genotype modifies the association between alcohol and coronary heart disease: The INTERGENE case-control study.
Type 2 diabetes: a preventable disease
A look at the increase in global diabetes risk and the reason behind the growing rate of type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
Investigating a progression of carb and saturated fat intakes
Effects of stepwise increases in dietary carbohydrate on circulating saturated fatty acids and palmitoleic acid in adults with metabolic syndrome.
Whence the hype?
The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study.
Running on empty: can we chase the fat away?
Body composition changes associated with fasted versus non-fasted aerobic exercise.
Combating obesity through intermittent fasting
Time-restricted feeding is a preventative and therapeutic intervention against diverse nutritional challenges.
How does a lifetime of marijuana use affect the brain?
Long-term effects of marijuana on the brain.
A mouse’s microbiome may cause its brain to leak
The gut microbiota influences blood-brain barrier permeability in mice.
- Interview: Stuart M. Phillips, Ph.D., FACN, FACSM
- Interview: Ramsey Nijem