Eliminating Shades of Gray in Anatomy: 7 Personalized Healthcare Tests

March 26, 2014
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personalized healthcare testsDoctors currently look at a patient’s symptoms and then create a treatment plan based on what works for the majority of people with similar symptoms. The problem with this is that there are some patients who don’t respond to the same treatment plan that works for the majority. However, the industry is starting to change, thanks to the introduction of personalized healthcare.

personalized healthcare testsDoctors currently look at a patient’s symptoms and then create a treatment plan based on what works for the majority of people with similar symptoms. The problem with this is that there are some patients who don’t respond to the same treatment plan that works for the majority. However, the industry is starting to change, thanks to the introduction of personalized healthcare.

Personalized healthcare is an approach to medicine that takes into account a person’s genetic or biological profile before creating a treatment plan. It changes the healthcare industry for the better because patients receive care tailored to their unique genetic makeup. There’s still a lot of research that needs to be done, but take a look at these seven personalized healthcare tests that are currently being researched and developed.

Biomarker Scans

The idea behind biomarker scans is to predict a diagnosis, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, or even depression, before it happens. Then, treatment can be given before there’s irreversible mental decline. Biomarker scans involve looking at brain PET scans and blood protein tests to determine if cognitive behavioral therapy or antidepressants are a better treatment for a patient. It’s all about early intervention, but it could be a standard test at some point in the future.

Genetics

Genetics is the process of tracing traits transferred from parents to offspring. For instance, studies show that people are more likely to have certain cancers if their parents had cancer. Genetics can be studied on any living organism, including plants. As a matter of fact, farmers use genetics to improve crops by selecting seeds from the best producing plants. Animal breeders have used genetics for centuries to choose the best animals to breed based on parental traits. Genetics are great indicators of many things such as tastes. For example somebody might like certain jewelry like seen at Pearlsonly and others might have different jewelry. 

Pharmacogenomics

Pharmacogenomics is the study of how a person responds to drugs. It helps healthcare professionals tailor medication to the safest, most effective doses. It’s all based on a person’s genetic makeup, rather than what works for the majority of people.

Genometrics

Every person has a unique genome that’s made up of DNA. Genometics is the study of the genome and how different chromosomes affect it. Some aspects of the genome are altered through proteins, which is how it’s used to treat certain medical conditions. The first human genome sequencing took 13 years, but we’ve come a long way since then.

Several tech companies have recently invested in genome research, such as Intel, Sony, Samsung, Google, IBM, Dell, and Intel Corp. Genometrics is expected to play a huge role in personalized healthcare someday.

Liver-Enzyme Tests

Liver-enzyme tests detect damage and inflammation to the liver through a series of blood tests. It’s currently used as a routine lab test to check the function of a patient’s liver. However, it can be used in personalized healthcare to show whether a person is a carrier for certain genetic diseases. This helps doctors watch more closely for symptoms and prescribe treatments before a disease even presents itself. Liver-enzyme tests are also used to determine the dose of medicine a patient needs.

Metabonomics

Matabonomics is the study of how the body responds to drugs and nutrition to treat diseases. NMR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry tests are used to detect and analyze metabolites. However, this personalized healthcare test has a long way to go before it’ll be effective because it’s hard to catch the rapid biochemical processes because intracellular metabolites have a half-life of one second or less.

Proteomics

Proteomics is the study of protein structures and functions. It is more complicated that genomics because the proteome of cells differs from time to time while the genome stays the same. Proteomics also combines the genome and proteome for a more complete look at a person’s metabolic system. However, it used the same way in personalized healthcare; it helps predict diseases so prevention treatments can be put in place.

Some of these personalized healthcare tests are already available to the public. With time and research, the tests will get better and better. True personalized healthcare will be a reality in the near future.

(genetic tests / shutterstock)