Genomic Study: Predicting Health from DNA


DANVILLE, Pa. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Genomic testing examines your DNA to uncover genes with the potential to become a real health risk. A new program hunts down bad genes while identifying good genes. This can create a dramatically different approach to healthcare.

Ividalis Gomez has rheumatoid arthritis, and seeks ways to ease not only her pain but to help her kids and grandkids.

Gomez told Ivanhoe, “I always used to say that it’s a pain that if you get hit, you can rub the pain away, but this pain is inside and you can’t just rub it away. I think once we know the results from mom, they probably want to jump aboard.”

A new study at Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania is turning a traditional approach to medicine upside down, by looking inside, first.

Andy Faucett, the director of policy and education at Geisinger Health Systems, explained, “Historically, medicine has been primarily been wait till you get sick and then figure out if we can make you feel better.” (Read Full Interview)

As part of the MyCode Community Health Initiative, Geisinger has obtained consent from more than 135,000 patients. They’ve agreed to provide blood or saliva samples for genetic sequencing, giving researchers a much needed window into disease.

“A few years ago, I was in my office alone, nobody else around, then felt faint started to pass out when the defibrillator worked and now I know how it works,” said Richard Davis.

This study will also help researchers determine how good gene changes can help us live healthier lives.

“I think it’s one of the few times we might actually get to prevent disease, catch people before they get sick and either slow the process down or keep it from happening,” said Faucett.

The MyCode study combined with electronic health records will help doctors look at genetic health risks, along with age and medical history.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Donna Parker, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Martin Jenoff, Videographer.




TOPIC:       Genomic Study: Predicting Health from DNA

REPORT:   MB #4232


BACKGROUND: DNA is a hereditary material that all humans and almost all organisms possess. Almost every cell in the human body is formed by DNA. DNA can replicate and make copies of itself, but each person’s and organism’s DNA is specific to them, not two people have the same DNA.

MYCODE COMMUNITY HEALTH INITIATIVE: MyCode Community Health Initiative is a project run by Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania that uses a biobank system in order to store blood and other samples for further disease research. The project will help researchers understand the connection between genes and diseases. The researchers’ ultimate goal is to be able to diagnose diseases earlier or even before they appear, and to be able to find new treatments with the help of DNA. In order to participate, patients have to give consent for their blood or saliva samples to be taken. Once the samples are given, researchers study all or some of the genes and compare them to electronic health records in order to study changes in the donor’s genes to see if they keep them healthy or sick. If researchers find something that is valuable to the donor’s health, they will be contacted. All of the information received and processed by the MyCode project is confidential. 

MORE ON GENETIC ANALYSIS: Genetic analysis is an overview of your DNA. It is a helpful procedure to undergo if you want to learn about your genes, and what you are predisposed to, since the procedure:

  • Reveals what is written in your genes,
  • Advises how you can take advantage of your genetic makeup
  • Allows you to get familiar with genetic predispositions you might possess like cardiovascular diseases, cancers, diabetes, and others
  • Reveals your response to specific medications
  • Gives insight to physical characteristics and abilities



Mike Feralzzo

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at

Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Andy Faucett, M.S.

Read the entire Q&A