A good while back, we made the decision to have our DNA run by 23andme.com. It was $99 a person.
Took a while. Sequencing DNA is not a fast technology, but it’s a cool technology. Like 3D printing in a sense: cool but not yet fast.
Eventually – a month back, or so – we received the basic summary of results. But, that’s just where the real fun begins…
Your DNA is huge. The text file of each of our data is on the order of 5.7 megabytes. There’s no way on earth this makes any sense, either….without computational help.
There are lots of approaches, but to begin sorting things out, we decided to go light on the budget and pay $10 bucks each to toss our data into www.promethease.com.
It’s important to understand the process here, so let me run through it.
You select an organization to actually do the sequencing. 23andme.com and ancestry.com are popular.
Now you wait for the DNA “spit kit” to show up. About a week, here.
When it does, you will need to spit what seems like gallons of spit (let’s about a tablespoon, or less, but you’ll get dry-mouth so take your time and think of lemons and pickles…). Mail in the kit.
In 4-7 weeks, you will get the email saying your results have been run.
Now you go to the website and download your DNA as a standard text file laid out in a standard way.
Next, you select whose report you want. We did Promethease (cheap) but there are lots to chose from (Self-DeCode and more) but from what I figured, most of the report generators were basing their reports on the content of www.snpedia.com.
“SNPedia is a wiki investigating human genetics. We share information about the effects of variations in DNA, citing peer-reviewed scientific publications. It is used by Promethease to create a personal report linking your DNA variations to the information published about them. Please see the SNPedia:FAQ for answers to common questions.”
SNPedia is interesting as hell, but they don’t process your file.
Which is why the Self-DeCode and Prometheus and….sites exit.
Going to the Promethease site, you agree to a bunch of checkmarks and then pop in a credit card ($10) and upload (*from your computer where you downloaded the 23andme results) to your local computer.
Then you wait because it can in some cases take 20 minutes for your DNA file to upload, look at that file, and pull out the proper results from the huge (and still growing) library of conditions connected with specific DNA types.
Finally, you download the Promethease results onto your computer, and extract the zip file.
What’s in the zip? The way the data is arranged, you are able to get a “quickie/highlights” view (mine was 10-20 pages) and at the bottom of that it says 2X – which gets into more details.
And when you do that, you can 2X again – several times in fact – until you have around a hundred pages of details.
The basic report, though is a good starting point. The results tell you (in descending order of importance) what the sample and the report figure your most significant health risks are.
For example, I already knew that I had an elevated chance of getting Alzheimer’s (because my father died of it at age 87) and yes, that is why we’re into the Alzheimer’s dietary, supplement, and lifestyle changes that seem to minimize the advancement of the disease. Missing starches, already!
2x risk of Alzheimer’s disease You carry one APOE-?3 allele and one APOE-?4 allele. This results in 2x increased relative risk of Alzheimer’s disease. For non-caucasians the risk is increased, but SNPedia has not yet seen any reliable estimates. This is based on
Not a particularly happy report, but that’s my “worst risk” from the DNA perspective. Besides, with word this morning of progress on attacking the apoE4 gene in the body to neutralize its effects, there is reason to continue following the End of Alzheimer’s recommendations (KetoFlex 12/3 a “flexarian” diet) and wait for science to issue what in software would be a “hot-fix” or “patch” for my DNA. Meat as a condiment, though? Down on starches and up on veggies…
Note to self: Remain cogent enough to realize when the patch is available!
My next major genome findings were OK with me: I’m a slow metabolizer of NSAIDS and I’ve got a 7X higher risk of male pattern baldness. From there we go into a hundred pages of details.
It’s important to understand the statistics a bit.
For example, when I read that I have a 2X risk, I’m guided by first knowing (from separate web research) that “One in ten people age 65 and older (10 percent) has Alzheimer’s disease. About one-third of people age 85 and older (32 percent) have Alzheimer’s disease.”
In my case, that sort of implies that my odds of Alzheimer’s 15-years out, would be on the order of 64%. But in 15-years, will there be a pill to neutralize the gene? And what about those coronary artery diseases? Big progress there, too.
BUT that’s why we ran our DNA’s. It confirms what I already knew (since dad had it, I might) and it underscores the lifestyle and eating changes to reduce risks.
The bonus points: Running your body in the Alzheimer’s-reducing light-ketosis envelope is also how to lose significant weight.
All that said, the data is somewhat contradictory in that I have 112 markers that relate to Alzheimer’s – and some of them are good….really, really good. Like this one:
Lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Higher good cholesterol. One copy of a longevity gene. This seems to raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and reduce the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.”
Which gets me down to the bottom line personally: My odds of making it to 100 are low – less than 20% if I’m following the report correctly. Since there’s still nuclear war on the timeline out in 2022-2024, hell, I’m in the home stretch.
BUT, knowing what’s in the report has helped me to clarify my relationship with the bag of skin and bones that the “MOG” (mind of George) currently inhabits:
You see, the DNA is like having your own “internal baseball team.” You’ve got some very good players (anything in the report with a green margin around it, or saying things like “rs3851179(A;G) — 0.85x decreased risk for Alzheimer’s disease” is good)..
But, you also have (on your DNA team) some players who are very bad. Those are the DNA sequences with the red borders around them.
Every morning when your feet hit the floor, the World Series of Life (inside, at the DNA level) begins.
This morning, I’ll have bacon, eggs, and fried potatoes (in coconut oil!).
One of our bad DNA players comes to bat:
1.5x increased risk for CAD 1.5x higher risk for coronary artery disease”
It’s a swing and a miss! Next batter? Ah, one of our good ones…
0.94 decreased risk for coronary heart disease”
Waffle for dessert?
As it turns out, there are more “bad players” on the coronary artery disease team than there are good ones…welcome to being a northern European male, huh?
This may all sound silly, but it’s how your food, nutrition, rest – and in the case of Alzheimer’s prevention – even the time you load on B vitamins and melatonin that matters.
So is it worth $110 bucks? Oh yeah, I think so because there’s more to the report. For example, you get (up to) several pages of how you genetically are expected to react to various medications:
There are several pages which will be printed off for my doctor to ponder. Since my doctor is younger than me, I expect my medication reactions ought to be something he’d want to have in file.
That way, at age 93, or so, when I’m wheeled into the hospital with coronary issues, my doc will be able to say to the cardiologist “Yes, we expected something like this…”
To which, the cardiologist would ask “What did he eat today?”
“Said something about bacon and eggs and DNA Baseball that didn’t make sense. May have Alzheimer’s…”
Or, an oncoming car on a county road with a drunk driver at the wheel could take me out. Or, lightning while I’m cranking down the ham radio tower…. High voltage shock from a linear amplifier when not “fully present” mentally while working on one?
Risks are everywhere. And one day, one of them, will get me. So far, I’ve beaten auto risks, flying/pilot risks, motorcycle risks, offshore sailing risks…see the point?
Yes, it was worth the $110 bucks. It doesn’t change the fact we’re all going to die. But, it does narrow our “medical suspect list” a bit and helps make informed lifestyle decisions.
OK, so DNA Baseball is about to get underway over at the house. Time to park the keyboard. Someone out in rural east Texas is probably already drunk. Trade war becomes depression becomes war with China by 2024….so, uh, yeah….let’s keep this all in context.
Strip of bacon?
Write when you get rich<