You've heard all about the just under $1,000 tests from Google-backed 23andme and deCODE, combining genetic results along with some genealogy and social networking. And then there's the $1,000 full genome tests, a ala James Watson and Craig Ventor, for the masses that are coming soon. (www.nature.com/embor/journal/v8/n10/full/7401070.html)
Now a geneticist, from the National Institutes of Health, no less, is offering a test that will have detect heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more. In the December issue of the American College of Physicians Observer, W. Gregory Feero, Md, PhD, says: "Genetic testing is already available, practical—even reimbursable. Primary care physicians don't have to wait for a huge leap in biotechnology for an inexpensive and non-invasive genetic test that can today detect a two- to threefold risk increase for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, colorectal cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer. In some individuals, the test can detect much higher disease risk for less common disorders like hemochromatosis, thrombophilia, and alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency." (acponline.org/journals/news/nov07/feero.htm)
Plus, he says the test is available for free online. That's nada, zip, zilch, And the results can be turned around in 20 minutes. The U.S. Surgeon General is offering it at familyhistory.hhs.gov
Feero says: "In a time of microarrays and talk of full genome sequencing, family history remains a cornerstone of the concept of truly personalized medicine, and seems likely to become even more useful in the near future."
If you can afford the $1,000 genetic tests and have a need to know, by all all means, have at it. Meanwhile, the free family health portrait is a good starting point. If you need to social network, send a friend an e-mail.