Coverage about Genomepatri in the Hindustan Times.
Every evening, after he returns home from work, Vivek Bhargava, 40, managing director of a digital advertising firm based in Mumbai, joins his 10-year-old daughter to play mind games on his smartphone to prevent the onset of premature memory loss.
Subhashini Chandran, 39, an entrepreneur based in Port Blair, has become ‘mindful’ of what she eats, and runs 10km every morning, apart from practising mudra therapy. Ever since Chandran underwent a simple saliva-based test to predict her health, she has transformed her lifestyle from hyperactive to stable.
A spit-second decision
Once a client gets in touch with a genomics testing company, they courier a testing kit to the customer. The client then spits into a highly-sterile test tube that keeps the saliva stable for more than 30 days. After the DNA is extracted at a laboratory, detailed reports are sent, explaining the likelihood of people acquiring specific diseases, in comparison to the average Indian.
“The structure of the person’s DNA is extracted from the saliva and is analysed. After this, customers are called for counselling sessions in which experts help them understand what the report means, and how they could change their lifestyles to reduce the likelihood of diseases they need to watch out for,” says Anu Acharya, co-founder of Map My Genome, the Hyderabad-based laboratory which generates a ‘GenomePatri’ for clients. “The extracted DNA is used to identify potential hazardous markers in the DNA, which have links to more than 100 health conditions,” adds Acharya.
Acharya’s own GenomePatri, for instance, showed a substantially greater lifetime risk of getting Type-2 diabetes than the average Indian. She was predisposed to it by 41 per cent, much higher than the Indian average (20 per cent). So, in the last few months, Acharya has cut out carbs from her diet and is trying to stay stress-free. “Many people become nervous. But if you take the findings positively, you can change your lifestyle and minimise their impact,” she adds.
Mumbai-based entrepreneur Bhargava, for instance, decided to be proactive. His report said he had four times higher the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia than an average Indian. “The counsellor said I could delay and even avert the disease provided I began exercising my brain on a regular basis. But in case I retired early and slid into inactivity, its onset could be quicker,” he recalls. Now, for at least an hour every day, Bhargava and his daughter solve puzzles on Lumosity, a site that hosts workouts designed by neuroscientists to improve core cognitive functions.