Create Account | Sign In: Author or Forum

 
 
News  |  Journals  |  Conferences  |  Blogs  |  Articles  |  Forums  |  Twitter    
 

 Headlines:

 

Category: Family Medicine | Nursing | Research | Preventive Medicine | News

Back to Health News

Efficient Disease Risk Prediction a Long Way Off, Experts Say

Last Updated: May 24, 2012.

 

Considering genes plus environment improves accuracy by just 1% to 3%, study shows

Share |

Comments: (0)

Tell-a-Friend

 

  Related
 
Considering genes plus environment improves accuracy by just 1% to 3%, study shows.

THURSDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) -- Detailed information about a person's genetic makeup and their environmental risk factors does not significantly change their disease risk prediction, according to the results of a new simulation study.

The researchers, from the Harvard School of Public Health, said that much more research is needed before information on patients' genetic variants could actually help doctors prevent or treat certain conditions.

"Overall, our findings suggest that the potential complexity of genetic and environmental factors related to disease will have to be understood on a much larger scale than initially expected to be useful for risk prediction," study author Hugues Aschard, a research fellow in the epidemiology department, said in a Harvard news release. "The road to efficient genetic risk prediction, if it exists, is likely to be long," he added.

In conducting the study, the investigators examined whether or not disease risk prediction for breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis would improve if environmental risk factors were considered along with genetic risk. The study authors called this interplay of genetic and environmental factors a "synergistic effect."

The researchers simulated a wide range of possible interactions between environmental risk factors and common genetic risk markers related to the three diseases to determine if this simulation model would improve risk prediction.

For breast cancer, 15 common genetic variations associated with the disease plus certain environmental factors -- such as age at first menstrual period and first birth, and number of close relatives who had breast cancer -- were considered. In examining type 2 diabetes, the researchers looked at 31 genetic variations along with risk factors such as family history, obesity, smoking and physical activity. For rheumatoid arthritis, they considered 31 genetic variations, as well as smoking and breast-feeding.

These disease models, however, showed no significant improvement in risk prediction, and the researchers concluded that with this method, risk prediction sensitivity would improve by no more than 1 percent to 3 percent.

"Statistical models of synergy among genetic markers are not 'game changers' in terms of risk prediction in the general population," said Aschard.

Study senior author Peter Kraft, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, added: "For most people, your doctor's advice before seeing your genetic test for a particular disease will be exactly the same as after seeing your tests."

The study authors noted that additional research on genetic and environmental interactions can provide important clues about the cause of disease, which may lead to improved prevention and treatment.

The study was published online May 24 and will appear in the June 8 print issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics.

More information

The U.S. National Human Genome Research Institute provides more information on genetics and disease prevention.

SOURCE: Harvard School of Public Health, news release, May 24, 2012

Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Previous: Babies' Vulnerability to Colds Tied to Immune Response at Birth Next: Autism Often Not Diagnosed Until Age 5 or Older: U.S. Report

Reader comments on this article are listed below. Review our comments policy.


Submit your opinion:

Name:

Email:

Location:

URL:

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

advertisement.gif (61x7 -- 0 bytes)
 

Are you a Doctor, Pharmacist, PA or a Nurse?

Join the Doctors Lounge online medical community

  • Editorial activities: Publish, peer review, edit online articles.

  • Ask a Doctor Teams: Respond to patient questions and discuss challenging presentations with other members.

Doctors Lounge Membership Application

 
     

 advertisement.gif (61x7 -- 0 bytes)

 

 

Useful Sites
MediLexicon
  Tools & Services: Follow DoctorsLounge on Twitter Follow us on Twitter | RSS News | Newsletter | Contact us
Copyright © 2001-2014
Doctors Lounge.
All rights reserved.

Medical Reference:
Diseases | Symptoms
Drugs | Labs | Procedures
Software | Tutorials

Advertising
Links | Humor
Forum Archive
CME | Conferences

Privacy Statement
Terms & Conditions
Editorial Board
About us | Email

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.