Your saliva can help early detection of diabetes, high blood pressure

DECCAN CHRONICLE | NAHID BUTT
Published Sep 16, 2015, 5:41 pm IST
Updated Mar 27, 2019, 7:45 pm IST
Genetic-based screening tests may be the next big medical breakthrough in India
Representational Image. (Picture Courtesy: Pixabay)
 Representational Image. (Picture Courtesy: Pixabay)
 
Did you know that the DNA in your saliva could hold the secrets to stay protected from several diseases? Although this technology is available all over the world, a biotechnology startup has also brought this to India. 
 
Saliva samples are collected in a container, which are then sent to the labs for analysis. After the test, a medical report is generated that gives details about one's genetic disposition to lifestyle conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity followed by customized guidelines on how to avoid these slow-killers. 
 
The health program called 100&Life by XCode Life Sciences, which was earlier available in Chennai is also being offered in Mumbai now. It goes by the name 'Gene Test' and is a joint venture of between XCode Life Sciences and Healthspring. 
 
Dr. Saleem Mohammed, founder and director of Xcode Life Sciences, explains that lifestyle conditions like diabetes, heart disease and obesity are actually preventable. “Nowadays the health advice offered by various facilities is very generic and does not show effective results on all people,” he says. “A genetic-based plan on the other hand is far more customized.” 
 
                                                                              
 
“We focus on different parameters like caffeine sensitivity, lactose intolerance and many more. For example, if you are not tolerant to lactose, you will have to deal with bloating issues whenever you consume daily products. Even caffeine is known to increase risk of heart disease,” Dr. Mohammed says. 
 
But it doesn’t just end with the report.“We focus on wellness counselling,” Dr. Mohammad says. “Similar genetic-based screening facilities offered by others are far more generic in nature. The parameters they focus on are actually non-actionable for they diagnose susceptibility to diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. On top of that these programs only end with the genetic test report and do not offer counselling of any kind,” he goes on to add. 
 
Dr. Mohammad thinks that although genetic-based diagnostic facilities are still at a nascent stage in the country, they have the potential to radically transform healthcare facilities in the country. 
 
“In 2003, the human gene was fully sequenced for the first time,” he says. Dr. Mohammed believes that in the next five to ten years everyone in the country will be gnomically sequenced. “Genome-based therapy is poised to become really pervasive in the not-so-distant future,” he opines.
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