The color of our eyes might match our mother’s, while our hair color matches our father’s. In a great number of ways, our appearances are determined by DNA. But it doesn’t just determine our appearances. DNA can also share how likely or unlikely in our lives we are to see changes, like tolerance to dairy or cardiovascular disease.
AdventHealth in collaboration with Helix, a California-based genomics company, has recently launched a DNA study, WholeMe. Being the first-of-its-kind, according to a press release from AdventHealth, the study aims to help people identify potential risk for high cholesterol.
Known as FH, or familial hypercholesterolemia, the life-threatening genetic condition causes high cholesterol. If untreated, cardiovascular disease can result, including heart attacks. Though cardiovascular diseases are more common with an increase in age, FH can still be a severe issue for young adults.
The study will sequence the DNA of 10,000 individuals. Sequencing will allow researchers to help order the building blocks of DNA for each individual. This, in turn, will provide the genetic information that is carried along segments of our DNA.
In addition to DNA sequencing, participants of the study will be screened for genes that are connected back to FH. They will also be able to learn about other traits that can influence their health such as lactose, glucose, magnesium, and calcium levels.
With its rebranding last summer, the organization shared the importance of genomics in the future of medicine. WholeMe will allow researchers to learn about how genomics can be used to diagnose, treat and prevent diseases.
The Healthy Nevada Project, a study similar to WholeMe, has been able to see success in its partnership with Helix. Currently, 115 participants were able to learn about their FH risk. It was also found that 90 percent of them would not have been diagnosed under current medical practice, according to the press release.
The study anticipates more insight about how genomics can impact personal health decisions, according to the press release. The hope is that consumers will be able to know more about their heart health with information that could secure a healthier life.
“Nothing is more personal than your DNA. … WholeMe is an exciting first step for AdventHealth, and we’re thrilled to bring this project with Helix to Florida,” Daryl Tol said in the press release. Tol serves as president and CEO of AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division.
AdventHealth, formerly known as Florida Hospital Orlando, currently oversees two million patient visits each year in just the metro Orlando area. According to the press release, they provide health services for, but not limited to, cardiology, women’s medicine, cancer, and pediatrics. Begun in 2015, Helix has created the first marketplace for DNA-powered products. The group is headquartered in San Francisco and looks to share personalized products developed by high-quality partners.
Both groups are excited to see how this one important study can give comprehensive knowledge to those who seek it. It will be a way to increase the standard in medical care, according to the press release.
WholeMe is scheduled to begin recruiting this July. There is no cost to join the study. While the study is open to all adults in Florida, the Orlando area will be the basis for enrollment sites. Ultimately, the study will allow individuals to learn more about their health and potential risks based on their genetics.
“We believe personalized medicine that focuses on the whole person is superior health care,” Tol said.