Thursday, June 3, 2010


I went finally went for genetic testing today - last year was just too filled with surgery, recovery, and house.

This is the company that did the test:

Molecular Diagnostic Services (Pty) Ltd
Tel: +27 31 267 7000
Fax: + 27 31 267 7005
Contact genetist: Natalie
Cost of a panel of 16 mutations: R3950
Finer prick blood test
A detailed lifestyle report and recommendations is given with test results.

I did this test not to show whether or not I have the BRAC1 or 2 gene as I have no family history of breast cancer or even cancer, nor am I of Ashkenazi Jewish or Afrikaaner family lineage, but rather to show what potential certain of my genes have to 'activate/mutate' which could lead to disease if exposed to certain lifestyle and environmental factors.

I want to see what lifestyle and environmental factors to include and exclude to reduce my breast cancer risk.

The genetic test looks at a person's DNA (the information in our cells that makes us who we are) and a person's lifestyle (this one can change and is influenced by diet, stress etc) and helps to predict our risk for future chronic disease - 16 mutations in your DNA are analyzed. These mutations (or DNA changes) are associated with chronic disease, things like Alzheimer's, Type II diabetes, cardio vascular disease, obesity, cancer etc.

Everybody's DNA is different and the way each person's body responds to nutrients will also be different. This test allows us more insight into how to eat correctly and make correct lifestyle choices for us on a very personal and individual level. Some people are able to eat unhealthy foods and still have no weight problems, while some people just look at a cheese cake and put on weight - this is all down to mutations in our DNA that allow our bodies to respond differently. This test helps us to look at these mutations and gain answers to these questions.

The exciting thing about these mutations is that they are lifestyle and environment driven meaning we can "switch off" the bad mutations just by doing simple things like taking an Omega 3 supplement or other suggested supplements, eating green leafy vegetables, increased levels of exercise etc. The test is therefore very beneficial and can be life changing to an individual provided the recommendations in the report are adhered to. It is a very empowering test and quite possibly where medicine will be in the future with regards personalized DNA diets.

I suggest that every person, including children, have this test done. We only need to do this test once in our lives as our genes stay the same throughout our lives. A child could therefore do the test at birth and have a far better chance of avoiding the avoidable factors in their lives.

(As more mutation tests become available over time, you might want to have these done but the above panel covers the main mutations).

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