23andMe Drops Prices, Makes Genetic Testings Affordable.

Unlock Secrets in Your Own DNA with 23andMe.com

Animation of the structure of a section of DNA
Animation of the structure of a section of DNA. The bases lie horizontally between the two spiraling strands. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently blogged about WellnessFX, which offers blood testing and analytics for optimal health…but there is another service I’ve been using for several years now (and been very happy with) called 23andMe – and there is some great news on this front. They’ve dropped their genetic analysis price from $299 to $99! If you haven’t used 23andMe in the past, now may be a good time to start! If you are looking for that perfect and unique Christmas present for that special someone – this is a great option as well. (If you haven’t guessed already, I do get compensated by 23andMe for each sale that goes through my site…but I don’t talk up products unless I believe in them!)

I’m not going to go into a ton of detail about 23andMe, you can go to their website to learn all about their services – but I do want to just highlight a few of the things that make me really love 23andMe:

  1. The service provides insight into what genetic predispositions towards various illnesses (or away from them) one has, allowing one to focus on taking steps to be healthier in ways that particularly counter those illnesses.
  2. The service provides insight regarding medications – which will be effective and which will have limited effectiveness for one’s genetic makeup.
  3. By participating in the service one also has the constant opportunity to contribute to scientific advances by (choosing explicitly to) sharing genetic data and information about oneself through surveys. This has already resulted in some interesting and significant advances.
  4. You are provided with many insights about your ancestry based on genomic information – for instance, I’m distantly related to Stephen Colbert on my mother’s side!

Ingestible Smart Pills and the Future of Medicine.

I love where medicine is heading these days – from reactive to proactive. I’m a big fan of personalized medicine – and have a Zeo and a subscription to 23andMe. I’m

Image via Wikipedia

always keeping my eyes open for the latest developments and when I recently changed primary physicians I purposely looked for one that utilized electronic health records.

It appears that some of the first ingestible smart pills are about to be commercially available. You can learn more in Brian Dolan’s article for mobihealthnews. I’m looking forward to someday taking an ingestible smart pill that will wirelessly communicate with my computer to track and analyze my health, such as:

  • Did I remember to take my medications today and at what time?
  • What did I eat today? How many calories were involved?
  • How much exercise did I get? At what times and in what intensity?
  • What vitamins, minerals, or other trace elements do I need to consume more of?
  • Has there been an increase or decrease in x or y that indicates a concerning health issue I should be aware of?
  • How much stress did I suffer throughout the day?
  • How much sleep did I get and what was the quality of my sleep?

I think such personalized medicine could help bring our healthcare costs under control. Think about it…

  • We’d be reminded to take important medications.
  • We’d easily hold ourselves accountable for our caloric intake and exercise.
  • We’d increase the nutritional value of our intake as we saw areas in which our diet was specifically weak and were able to track progress in remedying this situation over time.
  • We’d be able to determine exactly what supplements would be helpful for us.
  • Numerous health issues could be detected long before they became a crisis – avoiding numerous hospitalizations and other emergency procedures which are extremely expensive.
  • Diabetics and others with chronic illnesses would be able to constantly monitor their condition.

Tonight I Bought a Zeo…

[Zeo closed down, this product is no longer available]

My wonderful wife (Charity) knows that the hardest part for me about doing free lance systems administration work is the billing. I hate doing billing. I put it off and off. She also knows I want a Zeo – so here comes subtle and loving bribe/incentive. Get paid and I could use part of the proceeds to buy a Zeo. Today the check went into the bank and just now my order was placed. I can’t wait! Combine this with my currently pending 23andMe genome analysis and I’ll have lots of facts and figures to review in the near future. 🙂

23andMe: On My Christmas Wishlist.

Image representing 23andMe
Image via CrunchBase

I’d like to get a 23andMe genetic report. This service utilizes a saliva sample to analyze DNA makeup and offers insight into one’s personal health makeup and ancestry. The first is extremely useful, the second interesting.

Under personal health the report provides three main areas of insight. First, one learns about the inheritable diseases for which one carries genetic markers. Secondly, one learns about the genetic markers that may increase your risk for certain other diseases – like diabetes. Finally, one learns about unique mutations in ones DNA that may eliminate or reduce the effectiveness of certain drugs. Using this information one can seek better informed health treatment for oneself and one’s children.

On the ancestry side – using DNA analysis 23andMe is able to provide significant insights into our history and relations. 23andMe can point out living relatives we may not be aware of and give insight into our ethnic origins – including migratory patterns throughout time.

Something like this seems like science fiction – but it is very real and actually affordable – at least right now. They are charging a holiday sale of only $99 with a $5/mo. reoccurring fee for updates – a heavy reduction off the $499 regular price!

Further, 23andMe isn’t just providing information for individuals to use but is offering individuals the opportunity to contribute the data on their genetic makeup for further research while may result in revolutionary health advances for many…Something I’d certainly opt into.

All that to say – I’d love to get my hands on a 23andMe kit…and I promise not to freak out when I find out all the health nightmares that may be facing me down the road.